Here is part two to my 2010 synopsis. In this part, we will focus on the Spring of 2010 which is honestly, my second favourite Spring weather wise with 2011 being my favourite. Spring 2010 was a Spring of all weathers with blizzards, severe frosts in March to 27c and 16 hours of sunshine in May. It was definitely a Spring that suited just about anybody's type of weather. None of the three months were the same except maybe for how sunny they were, continuing on from what has been a record breaking sunny start to 2010.
With the exception of the 2nd into the 3rd and the odd outbreak of rain in the north, the first half of March was dry and anticyclonic. Valentia Observatory recorded a daily fall of 14.9mm on the 3rd but apart from this daily fall, there was no very wet days (days with 10mm or more) recorded during the first half of March at any station. Rain pushed into the west on the 16th which would soon just become a band of cloud on St. Patrick's Day. Rain again pushed in on the 18th and was the first wet day in the east since February 26th, so the east had recorded 18 days without any rain up to that point (February 27th-March 17th). This was an official drought (15 or more consecutive days with 0.5mm or less). However, the drought well and truly ended on the 18th with the rest of March being unsettled but mild with little frosts. The rain was not particularly heavy but some places did record more than 10mm of rainfall. The 19th was dry for the most part but later on in the day, a big blob of heavy rain pushed up from the south which had cleared by the afternoon on the 20th. This brought up to 15mm in some places including Gurteen, Co. Tipperary. A band of rain crossed the country overnight into the 21st leaving the 21st as a dry and sunny day but yet again, another band of rain crossed the country overnight into the 22nd. The 22nd then was a showery day. Rain pushed up from the south into the 23rd bringing a miserable day and rainfall was up to 14mm. This cleared on the afternoon of the 24th leaving a fine day behind it. Again, another band of rain pushed up from the south on the 25th which cleared the north during the afternoon. However, you could have guessed it already
, another band of rain pushed into the south during the evening. This rain did not clear Ulster and some parts of Leinster on the 26th bringing quite an awful day to these areas whilst elsewhere, it was an okay day with sunshine and scattered showers. The weekend of the 27th/28th was fine for the most part with just some scattered showers in the northwest on the 27th whilst on the 28th, a band of heavy rain pushed into the south during the afternoon and evening. This rain would gradually then affect all areas on the 29th which would be a very wet day in many, many places. The first widespread very wet day since last November actually. The rain was very persistent, here are just some examples of rainfall totals on the 29th:
Valentia Observatory: 21.8mm
Dublin Airport: 15.6mm (first very wet day since December 30th)
Casement Aerodrome: 12.7mm
Shannon Airport: 28.4mm (its wettest March day since 1962 and third wettest on record)
Maam Valley: 31.3mm
Delphi Lodge II: 37.1mm
Mount Russell: 35.0mm
The statistics may not show it as a particularly wet day in records standards, but I remember this day very well and trust me, it was a very wet day indeed. This rain would continue on into the 30th but gusty northwesterlies would then take place. The northwesterlies turned the rain in many places to blizzards. The blizzards affected all of Ulster and much of Leinster, some parts of Connacht also all day long. The south of Ireland though escaped and instead had some long sunny spells. It was a rather cold day everywhere especially with those blizzards, temperatures of only 2-4c during the day. However, in the Spring sunshine, where it was 8-9c, it would feel pleasantly mild. In the blizzards, Ballyhaise, Co. Cavan recorded a daily fall of 39.9mm on the 30th, just 0.1mm off 40mm. Helens Bay in Northern Ireland recorded 54.2mm on the 30th. After some further snow or blizzards falling in northern and eastern regions during the morning of the 31st, it cleared and brought a sunny, blustery day across the country with some wintry showers.
March ended on near average rainfall for much of Ireland. Northern regions recorded a drier than normal March generally but the South had a rather wet March. Despite the unsettled second half though and how many places were wetter than average, it definitely wasn't a soggy March and especially not enough to end what was going to become a long term period of dry months across some places, not all but certainly some. Like for example, March 2008 just two years ago, was wetter at the majority of stations. I thought the anticyclonic period during early March was very memorable and you'll see why in just a moment when I talk about the sunshine
. For the third month in a row, mean wind speeds were below normal continuing the trend of what 2010 was to become.... a.k.a. the calmest year on record in terms of wind speeds.
For the fourth month in a row, temperatures were below normal and it was the coldest March since 1987. Using the 1961-90 average, it wasn't a particularly remarkably cold March by any means with temperatures anomalies of just like -0.7 to -0.2c below the average. However, using the 1981-2010 average, the anomalies were around -1.4 to -0.6c below the average. The IMT for March 2010 was 5.9c which is -1.2c below the average. Maximum temperatures weren't that far off average but minimum temperatures were some 2-3c below average. Cavan recorded a minimum of -7.6c on the 9th which was Ireland's lowest minimum temperature for March since 2006. Dublin Airport recorded -7.3c on the 8th which was its lowest for March since 1962. Galway recorded a grass minimum of -12.7c on the 8th, its lowest such value for March since records began there in 1996. There was around 20 ground frosts recorded during March which is twice the number of ground frosts you'd expect in a normal March. Ardfert, Co. Kerry recorded the maximum temperature for March of 16.3c on the 26th in spite of many stations recording their warmest day on the 17th or 21st.
Oh boy now the sunshine. For the third month of 2010, sunshine totals were again well above average and especially so in the south and west. But even the east this time got their fair share of well above average sunshine totals. Sunshine totals were up to 175 hours at Ardfert which was its sunniest March on record. It may not have been a new record for Ireland in which March 2003 still stands as Ireland's sunniest March on record (in terms of average sunshine totals, not the actual largest sunshine total which belongs to a March sometime in the 20th century that I can't seem to find sorry
) but nevertheless, it was still a very remarkable March for sunshine. The lowest sunshine total was 122 hours at Cavan which is very high for a minimum sunshine total.
With March out of the way, I think it's time to talk about April. The 1st was a typical day of sunshine and April showers. A bit warmer than previous days at the end of March but nothing spectacular. On Good Friday, April 2nd, a band of rain pushed up from the south bringing up to 14mm at Valentia Observatory. Mountaineous regions recorded snow with this. Behind the front was sunshine and showers but the North had to suffer with the rain all day. This cleared on the 3rd to blustery showers on a quite strong wind but again, many places recorded sunny spells in between the showers. Easter Sunday started off dry and sunny everywhere but rain pushed into the west during the late morning lingering there for the day whilst the east had further sunny spells. The rain pushed through on the 5th bringing some rain to all areas. The middle of the day brought a dry interlude before another persistent band of rain pushed into the west come the evening reaching all but the southeastern corner by dawn on the 6th. The winds were very gusty at the same time. Belmullet recorded a gust of 75 knots (139 km/hr) on the 5th, its windiest April day on record. This rain cleared all areas gradually by mid-afternoon on the 6th. This rain was very heavy and the 5th or 6th became some of the stations' wettest April days on record. One such was Cavan recording 40.7mm on the 5th, its wettest April day on record. A band of showers pushed through the afternoon on the 6th but then a ridge builded in from the evening onwards which would eventually become stationary over Ireland for much of April. With the exception of some drizzle in the north on the 18th, the period 7th-23rd April was completely dry with plenty of sunshine. Each day from the 10th-23rd had at least 10 hours of sunshine somewhere in Ireland. Daytime temperatures were above average throughout the period but nightime temperatures were below average towards the end of the period, particularly the 20th/21st. Rain pushed in on the 24th and cleared by the 25th leaving showers across the country. The showers went away on the 26th but on the 27th, a band of persistent rain pushed into the west which cleared on the 28th leaving plenty of showers across the country for the last few days of April 2010.
Rainfall was quite similar to March for April in the sense that it was quite variable but more stations were dry in April than March. The rainfall distribution was very uneven anyway with the 5th/6th and 27th recording the general rainfall for many stations. Some other heavy rainfalls during this period included 26.6mm at Valentia Observatory on the 5th, with 9.3mm on the 4th and 8.9mm on the 6th. Valentia Observatory recorded 20.5mm on the 27th. Overall, it wasn't the most interesting April of rainfall. In spite of the record breaking windy event 5th/6th, April was again another very calm month in terms of wind speeds.
April was the first warmer than normal month of 2010 and the first such month since November 2009. After a rather cool start to April continuing on from the cold weather that set in during the last few days of March, it became much warmer and maximum temperatures for April were well above average. Minimum temperatures were much closer to average, however, as a result of frosts, particularly the period 20th-22nd. The IMT for April was 8.9c which is +0.4c above the 1981-2010 average. Not an exceptional month at all in terms of temperatures overall. The maximum temperature was 21.0c at Ardfert, Co. Kerry on the 10th whilst most stations had their warmest day for April on the 11th, the very next day with values widely up to the high teens. Straide, Co. Mayo recorded the air minimum temperature of -4.4c on the 21st which was the lowest April air minimum temperature for Ireland since 2006. It also recorded the lowest grass minimum temperature for April of -11.5c on the same day, its lowest for April since 1996. Despite the warm weather overall, April's quantity of ground frosts was still above average with between 12 and 18 ground frosts during April compared to the average of 8 and 12 ground frosts.
April was yet again another very sunny month continuing 2010's record breaking sunshine roller coaster. At the majority of stations, it was not as sunny as April 2007 but at Sherkin Island, it recorded 248 hours of sunshine during April, its sunniest April on record and was 140% of its LTA. Along with this, Sherkin Island had a whopping 8.26 hours of sunshine per day on average, a new record for Ireland. Shannon Airport also recorded its sunniest April on record with 231 hours, 156% of its LTA (which would be beaten 5 years later in April 2015). At this point in 2010, many places had recorded over 160% of their average sunshine for January-April. Dublin Airport had its sunniest April day since 1981 of 13.3 hours on the 16th.
Now here we go onto May. May started off with a cool and showery regime continuing on from the last few days of April. The showers would become few and far between by the period 2nd-4th. During this period, it was cool, mostly dry with some sunny spells at times. Rain pushed southwards overnight into the 5th and after that, it was a generally dry and cloudy day. However, some rain lingered in the northeast. It was again cool though some places were milder than recent days. This rain in the northeast moved over the eastern half of the country and cleared by the morning of the 6th leaving a dry and rather sunny day. It was similar to the 5th in that it was milder than recent days yet still cool for May. Whilst some places did record scattered showers on the 7th, a very quiet interval set in from the 7th-10th with plenty of sunshine but temperatures still below average for May in the low teens. Heavy showers turning into longer outbreaks of rain pushed into the north on the 11th spreading to most places by the afternoon but the south escaped and enjoyed a similar day to previous days with long spells of sunshine but cool everywhere again. The 12th had some showers across the country with long sunny spells too but again cool for May. The 13th was a generally overcast and cool day with patchy rain in many places whilst the north and some parts of the east escaped with the odd spell of sunshine. Showers pushed across the country on the 14th but very sunny everywhere and milder than previous days. After a dry, sunny start everywhere on the 15th, rain pushed into the west crossing the country by late evening. It was a bit milder again getting into the mid-teens - a sign of what's to come. Whilst Ulster had the odd shower, the 16th was a fine sunny day. The 17th was rather cloudy with the exception of the east. Some western regions recorded light rain and temperatures reached 17c in some places. Ireland had not seen such temperatures since the middle of April so you can see how cool May had been up to that point. That is all about to change massively however! Heavy rain pushed across the country on the 18th and ahead of the rain, the winds turned to a southerly direction bringing up warmer air. Temperatures were up to 19c on the 18th. Valentia Observatory recorded 20.4mm of rainfall on this day, its wettest day in May since 2008. A ridge of high pressure over Scandinavia and much of Europe made the front linger over Ireland into the 19th but by then, it just became a band of cloud. As a result, the 19th was an overcast day almost everywhere but very muggy at the same time with temperatures peaking at 21c in parts. Though it remained cloudy in the west, the 20th was a brighter day with temperatures reaching 24c this time and yes, they didn't reach their peak for May 2010 yet. The 21st was a similar day to the 20th in that with the exception of a cloudy west, it was mostly sunny and warm. Temperatures went back a touch to 23c. However, high pressure from Scandinavia well and truly built over Ireland by the 22nd with plenty of sunshine then of 11-15 hours in all places. Temperatures reached 25c on this day but the 23rd was even better! On the 23rd, Shannon Airport recorded 15.6 hours of sunshine which made it Ireland's sunniest day in May on record. Along with the abundant sunshine, Ardfert recorded 26.8c, the highest temperature for May in Ireland since 1997 and one of the warmest days on record for May. Helens Bay in Northern Ireland recorded 26.0c on this day, Northern Ireland's warmest day in May since 1989. It could never be more perfect than the 23rd May 2010 if you ask me, that was a very memorable day I will never forget. From then on, temperatures started to go back to average or slightly above however. The 24th was another very sunny day in places but a cold front which was a band of cloud by the time it hit the north coast, pushed southwards and introduced cooler air. Temperatures were still up to 22c on the 24th so still very pleasant. Temperatures were up to 19c on the 25th though that doesn't mean it was bad. It was far from bad with everywhere recording between 13-15 hours of sunshine during the day. Temperatures went back again on the 26th to 17c but sunshine was still very abundant between 9-12 hours of sunshine. Showers pushed into the north on the 27th becoming more widespread during the afternoon though some places escaped and enjoyed yet again, another very sunny day of up to 11 hours of sunshine. Showers in the west on the 28th with most places dry and pleasantly sunny. Heavy persistent rain pushed in on the 29th clearing by noon leaving overcast and mild conditions behind with the exception of some sunshine in the west. Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford recorded 26.9mm of rainfall on this day, its wettest day in May since 2002. Whilst the south had some rain on the 30th, most places enjoyed a fine day with sunny spells. Rain pushed across the country on the 31st after a generally dry morning and it was quite persistent in many places. Temperatures went back up to 19c, just in time for June
May was a rather dry month in most places and was the driest May in Ireland since 1991. However, some places were unlucky especially in the east where the showers in the first half and the rainfall on the 29th gave them a wetter than normal May. Unusually, Johnstown Castle recorded the highest rainfall total of 82.9mm (130% of its 1961-90 average) whilst Maam Valley (normally the wettest place for monthly rainfall totals) recorded 66.6mm (49% of its average). Overall, May was pretty forgettable rainfall wise to be honest.
May was a rather warm month overall across Ireland with an IMT of 11.6c (+0.3c above the 1981-2010 average). Differences from average were up to +1.4c at Ardfert but Dublin Airport's mean was -0.6c below its average for May so temperature contrasts were quite high during May 2010. In all places, the first half of May was very cool and easily the coolest start to May since 1996. The second half of the month was significantly warmer, however and brought up the mean temperatures in all places with most above average and others just slightly below average. There was a total of 10 and 15 ground frosts during May which for the sixth month in a row was well above average compared to the normal 5 and 7 ground frost range for May. During the quiet interval in May from the 7th-10th, Ireland had their lowest May temperatures since 1996. Casement Aerodrome recorded an air minimum temperature of -2.0c on the 11th and Straide recorded a grass minimum of -7.0c on the 8th.
May continued 2010's record breaking sunshine streak. Whilst yes, it wasn't a particularly remarkable May sunshine wise in comparison with the sunniest Mays on record, it still was a very sunny May with more than 120% of the average sunshine in parts. Both halves of May were evenly sunny with both recording some very pleasant sunny days. However, the second half recorded the sunniest days for May of the 22nd, 23rd and 25th which I mentioned above in the May daily summary.
Spring overall was a record breaking sunny one with dry and rather mild conditions. It was the sunniest Spring on record across Ireland with Shannon Airport and Valentia Observatory also having their sunniest Spring on record. Spring 2010 was the second consecutive sunniest respective season on record across many places. It was the coldest Spring since 2001 despite being milder than normal in comparison with many, many recent warm Springs. It was the driest Spring since 2007.
Did June continue or end this run of very sunny months that goes back to December 2009? See soon in my part three of my 2010 weather synopsis.
All data in this post is sourced from Met Ã‰ireann for the Republic of Ireland and Met Office for Northern Ireland.