Coldest March on record in parts of Ireland

Monthly mean temperatures were below average, with differences of -3°C or more in most parts.  Mean temperatures were the lowest on record nearly everywhere except in the South and Southwest.

According to Met √Čireann, Dublin Airport reported a mean temperature of 3.1°C, its coldest March since the site opened in 1942 (71 years), while Claremorris and Mullingar also reported their coldest March on record since opening in 1950 (63 years).

Majority of stations in the South and Southwest reported their coldest March since 1962 (51 years) with exception of Shannon Airport, which reported its coldest March since 1955 (58 years).

All mean maximum and minimum temperatures were below average, with highest maximum temperatures in parts of the East, South and North the lowest recorded, and lowest minimum temperatures in parts of the Southeast, Southwest and West the lowest in at least seven years.  Johnstown Castle and Cork Airport reported highest maxima of 10.8°C and 10.4°C on the 8th, their lowest for March since the sites opened over 50 years ago while their lowest minima of -1.8°C and -3.7°C on the 12th, were the lowest for both sites since March 2006.

Rainfall was on or above average in the East, Southeast and in parts of the South, with most in the area reporting it as their wettest March in five to seven years. Long-Term Average (LTA) rainfall was nearly double at Phoenix Park with 97.1 mm, its wettest March since 2008, while Cork Airport reported 138 % of its LTA and its wettest March in 17 years. Both of these stations attributed over a fifth of their monthly rainfall totals to the heavy rain on the 21st/22nd. Stations along the Atlantic coast and in the Midlands reported below average rainfall with most areas reporting less than 50% their LTAs.

Shannon Airport and Newport both reported just over a third of their LTA rainfall for the month with totals of 28.3 mm and 53.4 mm, respectively, their driest Marchs since 1950 (63 years) and 1961 (52 years). Available sunshine totals were on or above average in the West and Southwest and below average elsewhere, with Dublin stations reporting around 60% their LTA sunshine and their dullest March since 1996 (17 years).
According to the UK Met Office, meanwhile, March 2013 was the joint 2nd coldest alongside 1919, 1937, and 1962, making it also the coldest in 50 years in Northern Ireland.

This year joins 2006, 2001, 1995, 1987, 1979, 1970 and 1962 as years when March saw some significant snowfall.

March overview:
1st to 5th: Mainly dry with some drizzle along Atlantic coasts. Cloudy and misty conditions at times but with good periods of sunshine, especially in the East. Winds were light, with no gale gusts.
6th to 13th: Mainly overcast with small amounts of sunshine recorded before the 10th, regular outbreaks of rain, heavy and persistent at times. Very cold after the 11th as an easterly/northeasterly airflow covered Ireland with bands of wintry precipitation and snow showers affecting mainly the eastern half. Winds were mainly moderate to fresh,
occasionally gale force in the North, with gale gusts reported along coasts.
14th to 20th: Unsettled weather, rain and scattered showers, some with hail and thunder. Precipitation was widespread and heavy at times, turning to snow and sleet in places. Sunny periods mainly in the Southwest and West, with few gale gusts in the West and along Atlantic coasts. Winds were mainly light to moderate, occasionally fresh.
21st to 31st: Unsettled weather continued with periods of rain and showers, sometimes heavy, with precipitation falling as snow or sleet at times. Few showers with thunder and hail. Otherwise dry, with long sunshine durations, but remained cold. Gale force winds recorded on the 21st to 23rd in the North and West, and gale gusts reported everywhere.

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