The Malta Independent 17 July 2024, Wednesday
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Meteorological spring drier and hotter than climatic norm

Tuesday, 25 June 2024, 07:58 Last update: about 22 days ago

The summer season has arrived in full force, bringing temperatures typically seen in July and August to the Maltese Islands. However, the preceding months were also unseasonably warm, with the meteorological spring being hotter and drier than the norm, the Met Office said in a statement Tuesday.

In fact, March was significantly drier than the climatic norm, while April offered a taste of summer with temperatures reaching 29.4°C, and May brought with it the year's first heatwave, spanning from the 16th until the 18th of the month.

A closer look at the temperatures recorded reveals that all three months of the meteorological spring were warmer than average. In March, the air temperature peaked at 27.9°C (norm 17.4°C), on April 1st the mercury hit 29.4°C (norm 20.1°C), and on May 18th the air temperature soared to 32.3°C (norm 24.3°C).

The same was also the case with precipitation volumes, as the three months of spring were significantly drier than the climatic norm, bar the occasional occurrences of blood rain. In fact, between March and May, the Meteorological Office's weather stations in Malta and Gozo recorded only 26.2mm of rain, compared to the spring norm of 68.6 mm.

May was the driest month of the season, receiving only 5.8 mm rain across three days, and consequently falling 4.4 mm short of the climatic norm.

Most of this total (4.8 mm) fell on May 8th, which was also the dullest day of the month, with less than one hour of sunshine recorded.

Cloudy skies and dust in suspension contributed to May being gloomier than average. As a result, the Meteorological Office recorded 300.8 hours of sunshine in May; nearly seven hours below the monthly norm.

A closer look at the temperatures measured in May also shows us how last month was almost a degree warmer than the norm, with the average temperature standing at 21.1°C. While May brought with it the first heatwave of the year, 2006 still holds the record for the highest temperature measured in May, when the mercury rose to 35.3° C.


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