2016 was one of the warmest of the last 116 years, with winter rainfall in the west being only half the amount it normally is, Met Eireann announced last night when they published their weather review of the year.
The year was also was also drier than average, ending in a very dry December where rainfall was at 53 per cent of average at Newport, Co Mayo and Mace Head, Co Galway.
Some of the year’s highest mean wind speeds were also recorded in Galway with Storm Imogen seeing a range of mean wind speeds from 5.8 knots (10.7 km/h ) at Fermoy (Moore Park ), Co Cork to 14.4 knots (26.7 km/h ) at Mace Head.
The stormy end of 2015 continued into early 2016, as the north Atlantic Jet Stream continued to steer windy, wet and yet very mild weather over Ireland during January and much of February. This unsettled pattern persisted through spring also, characterised by frequent frontal passages alternating with short periods of high pressure. However, high pressure prevailed from the latter part of May well into June bringing a lot of fine, settled and sunny weather. The rest of the summer period was changeable again, as several Atlantic depressions affected the country.
Nevertheless a brief fine spell between July 17-19 brought the warmest days of the year. The autumn season began unsettled, but then an anticyclone dominated through October, November and much of December; a period noted for mainly dry weather and slack winds. However conditions changed abruptly as Atlantic depressions brought heavy rain and strong winds over the Christmas period, though conditions did abate and it remained mild till the end of the year.
The driest month was October with the majority of stations reporting around 50% or less of the long term average (LTA ). The wettest monthly conditions were in parts of the South in February with stations reporting near or over double their average rainfall. Annual percentage of LTA values ranged from 78 per cent at Mace Head, Co Galway with 1046.7 mm to 104% at Valentia Observatory, Co Kerry with 1616.9 mm.
The wettest day was reported in the Southwest on October 3rd as a slow moving frontal system affected the area, the highest daily rainfall reported at synoptic station was 105.5 mm at Valentia Observatory, Co Kerry, its wettest day since the station opened in 1866.
Annual sunshine totals were lowest at Ireland West Airport with an annual total of 1099.6 hours (daily mean of 3.0 hrs/day ) while the highest annual sunshine total was 1411.5 hours (daily mean 3.9 hrs/day ) at Dublin Airport. The sunniest day for 2016 was reported on June 2nd at Malin Head, Co Donegal with 15.8 hours. The number of dull days ranged from 78 at Dublin Airport to 123 at Ireland West Airport.