Wetter, warmer, and more unpredictable: How Ireland's weather broke records in 2020

Wetter, warmer, and more unpredictable: How Ireland's weather broke records in 2020

The year's highest average wind speeds were recorded at Roche's Point in Cork on August 19 during Storm Ellen — which will come as no surprise to these people who witnessed the Front Strand in nearby Youghal being battered by wind and waves. File Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Ireland's weather was wetter, warmer and more unpredictable in 2020.

In news that will come as little surprise to many, new data from Met Éireann has confirmed that many parts of the country broke records in terms of weather in 2020.

As we face into a lengthy cold snap in the coming days and weeks, Met Éireann has now confirmed that last year saw higher than average levels of sunshine and temperatures throughout the country, with most weather stations breaking records for long-term average levels of rain.

The wettest day of the year, anywhere across the country, was recorded on Wednesday, July 29, at Valentia Observatory, Co Kerry.

It was the wettest year since 2009 at both Valentia Observatory and at Sherkin Island, Co Cork, while it was also the wettest of the last five years at 18 other stations.

The number of very wet days ranged from 17 days at Phoenix Park, Co Dublin, to 68 days at Newport, Co Mayo.

Motorists contend with downed trees on the N72 just outside of Fermoy in Co Cork following storm Ellen last August, which caused flooding and multiple downed trees, and left thousands without power. 
Motorists contend with downed trees on the N72 just outside of Fermoy in Co Cork following storm Ellen last August, which caused flooding and multiple downed trees, and left thousands without power. 

Claremorris, Co Mayo, saw its wettest year on record, with an annual rainfall total of 1638mm of rain. Dublin was the driest county. Dublin Airport saw the years lowest annual rainfall total of 748.9mm and Phoenix Park, not far off, with a total of 764.4mm.

The highest temperature of the year was recorded on Monday, June 1, at Newport, Co Mayo at 27.1°C. 

In contrast, across the country, the year's lowest temperatures were recorded on Sunday, January 19, when Oak Park, Co Carlow saw it drop to -10.7°C.

In all the weather stations recorded, sunshine totals were above average. Dublin Airport saw the most sunshine, with an annual total of 1523 hours, while Cork Airport saw its sunniest year since 2010, with 1,567.5 hours of sunshine across the year. Belmullet, Co Mayo, saw the least amount of sunshine at 1,252.0 hours.

Across the year, there were eight named storms and five months with storm force winds.

The year's highest gust and highest average wind speed were reported at Roche's Point in Cork on August 19, during Storm Ellen. The gust reached 77 knots — 143 km/h — with an average wind speed of 60 knots — 111 km/h — recorded.

Meanwhile, two separate weather warnings for snow and low temperatures have been issued for the entire country.

According to Met Éireann, snow and ice will lead to hazardous conditions.

Meteorologist Siobhán Ryan said conditions will be very dangerous for people out walking or driving on Thursday.

There will be snow accumulations to begin the day, but brighter conditions will extend across the country. Met Éireann predicts another "raw" day, with highs of just 1°C to 5°C.

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