2003 driest in over 30 years for most of us

THERE was a sting in the tail of 2003 as sleet and snow hit the north and west but, overall, December repeated the general 2003 pattern of drier, warmer and sunnier weather than normal almost everywhere in Ireland.

According to the Met Office, rainfall totals in the month were below normal except in parts of the northwest and southeast, and there was just over half the normal December amount of rain at Cork Airport.

There were periods of the month when little or no rainfall was measured in Ireland, between the 3rd and 8th and from the 14th to the 18th.

All through the year, farmers had few weather complaints. It was the driest year for more than 30 years in places, and the driest at Birr, Co Offaly since records began in the area in 1874.

However, a thunderstorm near Pollathomas, Co Mayo, on September 19 produced 80mm of rain in three hours, resulting in locally devastating floods and landslides.

And a daily fall of 63.7mm at Valentia Observatory on June 9 was its highest daily amount for June since 1892.

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