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December 10th sunniest on record but forecasters warn of bitter changes!

We don’t know what to make of it either…

On the day that Armagh Observatory reports that December was the 10th sunniest on record, some forecasters are predicting arctic conditions moving in across Ireland north and south in the days ahead.

Exacta Weather forecaster James Madden said the public should brace themselves for “prolonged bitter weather” which was “likely to stretch into February”.

He added: “Ireland missed the worst of the snow and cold that the UK experienced at times throughout December, but that looks like it’s going to change.

“There is likely to be some significant changes throughout the second half of January to some prolonged cold spells and a number of widespread snow events across large parts of Ireland.

“It may even arrive a little earlier than mid-month.”

The BBC is advising of wet and windy weather conditions from Wednesday onwards, with southerly gales along exposed coasts.

It also forecasts colder conditions, with wintry showers on Thursday, an unsettled pattern that will carry into Friday.

The predictions come as Armagh Observatory revealed December 2014 was cold and wet, but sunnier than average.

The mean monthly temperature was 4.5 degrees Celsius, approximately 0.1 C cooler than the long-term (1796-2010) average December temperature at Armagh and more than 0.4 C cooler than the most recent 30-year (1981-2010) December average.

The warmest day was 12.4 C on December 18, and the coolest night was minus 5.1 degrees C on the 29th.

This was the coldest night at Armagh for 21 months, that is, since the very cold March 12, 2013, and the coldest December night for two years.

There were 12 nights with air frost and 25 with ground frost.

Total precipitation amounted to 98.95 mm (nearly 3.9 inches), approximately 28 per cent more than the average December rainfall at Armagh, which is roughly 77 mm.

The wettest day was the December 10, with 15.2 mm (0.6 inches), though there were two other days (the 23rd and 16th) each with around half an inch of rain, and just one day (the 2nd) with no recorded precipitation at all.

Despite the cool, wet weather, December 2014 was brighter than average with a total of approximately 53.2 hours of strong sunshine.

This is some 30 per cent more than the December average at Armagh, making December 2014 the 10th sunniest December on record, shared with December 1893!

The sunniest day was December 2, with 6.5 hours of strong sunshine.

Taking the year as a whole, 2014 can be described as wetter and warmer than average with about average sunshine, though this masks large in-year
variations.

The mean annual temperature was 10.16 degrees C, nearly half a degree warmer than the most recent 30-year (1981-2010) annual average temperature at Armagh and more than one degree C warmer than the corresponding long-term (1796-2010) annual average.

2014 was the warmest year at Armagh since 2011, and the 14th warmest on record, continuing the trend of relatively warm years during the past decade or so.

Total precipitation during 2014 was 957.85mm (approximately 37.7 inches), making 2014 the wettest at Armagh for 12 years, that is since 2002, and the 15th wettest year at Armagh since rainfall records began in 1838.

The total number of hours of strong sunshine was 1249.0.  This is approximately eight per cent less than the long-term (1881-2010) annual average but close to the most recent (1981-2010) annual average of 1247.0 hours.

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