Was there an SSW event that year? It's just incredible to think about how long the cold lasted. Although if Netweather had been around back then some posters would be looking to day 67 for the breakdown.
The stratosphere chart archive only goes back to 1979 so I can't show these but a big Canadian Warming took place in November 1962 followed by a SSW in February 1963.
May 1997 was a very interesting month.
It started off with a ridge of high pressure over the country from the last few days of April bringing some very pleasant warm sunshine. Temperatures reached 23 and 24c on the 1st and 2nd May 1997.
This was quickly changed to a northerly outbreak that you've shown around the 5th onwards as a low pressure pushes in from the west and then stalls to the east of Britain forcing the winds to become northerlies.
The -5c isotherm hit the northwest of Ireland on May 5th.
Met Éireann description for May 6th:
Hard to believe that was a day in May. It was the only day to have snow according to Met Éireann in May 1997. Fethard, Co. Tipperary got down to -1.6c on the 7th.
This cool showery weather ended on the 13th and conditions had began to improve with 22c being recorded on the 16th in an easterly flow.
It was unsettled again for a while from the 18th to the 23rd with some heavy rain on the 18th including a daily rainfall of 29mm at Mullingar.
After a fairly showery month mostly, the last week was very dry, sunny and warm. It was our Summer literally for 1997, as Summer 1997 was extremely wet for some. Ardfert, Co. Kerry recorded a maximum of 28.4c on May 31st, the highest May temperature ever recorded in Ireland - the previous highest being 27.8c in Dublin in May 1922. 25 May 2012 nearly bet this record with a maximum of 28.3c at the same station, just 0.1c short of the 1997 record. There was a lot of sunshine to be enjoyed in the warmth with widespread country amounts of 12 to 15 hours for several days.
May 1997 ended with an IMT of 11.8c which is +0.5c above the 1981-2010 average. If it were not for the cold, showery weather, it would have been a very warm May in terms of the mean.
Early March 2001.
After around 10-20cm - even more in some places (see my Winter 2000-01 post here https://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=105146697&postcount=160) - on February 27th, snow laid for a couple of days in those parts courtesy of some more snow showers during early March and severe cold taking place. Kilbrace in Scotland had recorded a low of -21.7c on March 3rd. This was the lowest temperature of the entire 2000-01 season. Maximum temperatures for many were just around the low single figures (1-4c) for the first few days of March. Casement Aerodrome got down to -9.0c on the 1st. The IMT for March 2001 was 5.8c which is -1.3c below the 1981-2010 average.
Met Éireann even say it themselves that the cold weather allowed snow to lie in Dublin on the front of their monthly weather bulletin for March 2001:
-15 out beyond the west coast during January 1987 cold spell. Apologies for difficulty in seeing small font on isotherm! New poster seem unable to post images yet.
Remember May 1997 well. That May Bank Hol sryanbruen refers to (wintry) was the day Ken Doherty won the World Snooker Championship!
1997 may have been a wet summer, the August Bank Hol was infamous for rainfall totals, but it was very warm and between the thunder was a lot of very warm sunny weather in July and August. IIRC 1997 and 1995 were the warmest years on global record pre 2000.
Whilst January 1987 was the coldest of the 80s in Britain, January 1985 was the coldest January of that decade in Ireland. The month had an IMT of 2.3c which is -3.2c below the 1981-2010 average, in comparison to 4.7c in January 1987 which is -0.8c below the 1981-2010 average and was moderated by the milder spells despite the big freeze during mid-month. I will talk about January 1987 in another post as it was such an incredible period of weather and this post is going to be focusing on January 1985 along with the PV split of early 1985.
The year started off with a significant split of the Polar Vortex within the stratosphere. This was highly unusual and there is still no comparison to it this day in terms of its extreme and occurrence - except perhaps 'til the middle of February 2018 .
This PV split is said to have had an effect on the US. This is because a record breaking freeze occurred in the eastern US following it during January 1985 after quite a warm December 1984 in the eastern US. Polar air from Canada pushed into much of the eastern US in January and shattered record low temperatures.
Due to how different this cold snap was to the warmth that had taken place in December 1984, it is suggested that there was a build up of cold air in the Arctic which was then suddenly released via a quick tropospheric response from the PV split in the stratosphere. For Europe, there doesn't seem to be any mention of this PV split having an effect on the continent but the similarities between both continents were very similar. For instance, December 1984 had an IMT of 6.1c which is +0.5c above the 1981-2010 average so was a rather mild month, compared to January 1985 at only 2.3c.
January 1985 didn't start on a particular mild note during the PV split either as it was quite cold with a block setting up over us and to the north of Europe. However, any severe cold or snow didn't really reach us 'til mid-month which would be about the minimum time you'd expect to see a tropospheric response from the PV split.
As you can see from charts like this on the 7th January 1985, Ireland is just abouts on the knife edge of quite a cold pool. Nevertheless, there was still a lot of frost and sunshine under the high pressure.
The first week or two was just generally high pressure dominated with severe frosts. By the 11th, high pressure had pushed back down to us before it starts to push over to Scandinavia and turn the winds into the east.
Firmly in a bitter easterly by the 13th/14th January with significant cold air plunging into the eastern half of Ireland in particular which would bring snow showers.
By the 16th, snow showers had spread to many parts. They caused quite some chaos in said places, especially in the east. The winter conditions caused havoc for drivers but fun times in the snow for many children whose schools had closed. Chaotic driving conditions affected bus services, and flights in and out of Dublin airport were cancelled or delayed. Snow depths varied between 5 to 22cm.
By the 20th, high pressure had retrogressed to Greenland forming a monster block up there and the Atlantic tries to invade from the south giving away to some heavy snowfalls.
The rest of January 1985 was hit and miss with some cold and wintry episodes but in a northwesterly airstream and mild episodes at other times - so quite like Winter 2017-18 here. It stayed mostly cold though.
Unfortunately, Met Éireann have no mention of January 1985 in their Snowfall in Ireland document which is quite surprising honestly.
Some notable temperatures from January 1985:
- maximum of -1.6c at Mullingar on the 17th
- maximum of 0.2c at Shannon Airport on the 18th
- air minimum of -9.5c at Ballinrobe on the 18th
- grass minimum of -17.8c at Glenties on the 6th
It was a very dry and sunny January too so it was a beautiful month! Galway had 198% of its sunshine for January and Birr had only 31% of its January rainfall.
Here's what Trevor Harley says for the UK during January 1985:
Updated to include 2017 and 1976 to 1978 now, looks like I've found another weird record, -7.6c at Cahirciveen, Co. Kerry on December 28th 1976.
Springs have certainly gotten warmer since the 80s, they were very cool and wintry in the 80s with a large lack of Spring warmth back then. Summers is quite a mixed story. Here's a comparison of Summer IMTs and their anomalies from the 1981-2010 average for you.
1980: 14.3 (-0.5)
1981: 14.1 (-0.7)
1982: 15.1 (+0.3)
1983: 16.0 (+1.2)
1984: 15.7 (+0.9)
1985: 13.9 (-0.9)
1986: 14.0 (-0.8)
1987: 14.5 (-0.3)
1988: 14.3 (-0.5)
1989: 15.9 (+1.1)
2007: 14.5 (-0.3)
2008: 14.9 (+0.1)
2009: 15.4 (+0.6)
2010: 15.0 (+0.2)
2011: 13.3 (-1.5)
2012: 14.2 (-0.6)
2013: 15.7 (+0.9)
2014: 15.1 (+0.3)
2015: 13.5 (-1.3)
2016: 15.5 (+0.7)
2017: 14.6 (-0.2)
IMTs for 1965 & 1966 calculated now.
Calculated using Met Éireann's historical data and UKMO's Northern Ireland data.
EDIT: I finally learned how to do tables on Boards.ie!
IMTs for 1963 and 1964 calculated now.
Calculated using Met Éireann's historical data and UKMO's Northern Ireland data.
30/31 March 2010 blizzard charts and videos following February 2010 SSW.
Just a question some posters may be able to answer. Have we had many recorded ice days in March? And if so any consecutive days?
I don't remember any ice days in March in my life so far for Ireland (since 2000) but I do know that parts of the UK had some ice days in March 2013, including England. Examples were 11/24/25 March 2013.
Going by synoptics though I can't say for definite, I think there were ice days in March 1947, March 1962 and March 1965.
Here's very cold upper air temperature synoptics to show you what I mean in these months.