The Malta Independent 18 September 2019, Wednesday

Winter weather round-up: Cooler temperatures, bright skies

Thursday, 11 April 2019, 13:21 Last update: about 6 months ago

A particularly cool February closed off the meteorological winter season, which saw temperatures peak early at 19.4°C in the beginning of December, and drop gradually to reach a seasonal low of 3.7°C towards the end of February, the Meteorological Office said today.

However, while the air might have felt crisper than usual, the season’s mean air temperature was only fractionally lower than the norm of 13°C, averaging 12.7°C.

While this past season may have also seemed wetter than the norm, the three-month period in fact registered slightly below-average rainfall, receiving 223mm of rain, as opposed to the seasonal average of 247.8mm.

An exceptionally dry December turned out to be the calm before the storm, with more than triple the amount of rain which fell on the Maltese Islands during the last month of 2018 pouring down on the first month of 2019 to amount to 99.8mm of rainfall.

Punctuated by episodes of strong wind and stormy weather, the winter months saw wind gusts reach 54 knots on the 24th of February, but otherwise maintained a slightly-above-average mean wind speed of 10 knots.

Despite the odd wet or stormy spell, the winter months were far from sun-deprived, with an average of 6.4 hours of sunshine gracing Malta’s skies every day. Racking up a total of 578.1 hours of sunshine, the past winter season surpassed the seasonal sunshine norm by 75 hours.

The Meteorological Office also reported seven hailstorms, this being slightly higher than the norm of 5 occurrences of hail.

MARCH HIGHLIGHTS

The start of spring has brought with it drier and warmer weather to the Maltese Islands. The month of March received 34.6mm of rainfall, 10.8mm of which fell on March 21st, while registering a mean air temperature 0.6°C higher than the climate norm, this year reaching 14.5°C.

A light cloud cover, averaging 3.4 oktas, settled over the Islands during March, allowing both locals and tourists to soak up an average of 7.5 hours of sunshine per day, amounting to an above-average total of 232.7 hours of sunshine being recorded by the end of the month. While no sunshine was recorded on the 21st, 22nd or 27th of the month, the 11.1 hours of bright sunshine recorded on the 26th of March seemingly made up for a rather dull week, making this particular day the brightest of the month.

The month both started and ended on a chilly note, seeing the air temperature drop to 9°C on the 6th and 28th of March. March 9th, on the other hand, became the month’s warmest day when the mercury hit 21.8°C. At 15.8°C, the mean sea temperature during March was also warmer than the climate norm for this time of year.

With an average wind-speed of 9.9 knots, March was also slightly windier than expected, with the highest wind gust for the month, blowing from a North-West by North and North-North-West direction, reaching 49 knots on March 12th.

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