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Cold enough to drive the snakes out as St Patrick’s Day confirmed chilliest in 175 years!

March cold and dull and 'slightly wetter than average'

If St Patrick hadn’t driven the snakes out of Ireland the cold surely would have!

Figures just released by the Armagh Observatory have shown that St Patrick’s Day in the city was the coldest in at least 175 years!

The mercury plummeted and the maximum air temperature that day was just 2.5 C – more than 7 degrees C lower than the average for March 17.

Snow pellets were recorded that morning, and sunshine only briefly during the late afternoon.

It meant St Patrick’s Day 2018 was the coldest on record at Armagh – since records of daily maximum and minimum temperatures began at the Observatory in 1844!

The second coldest St Patrick’s Day at Armagh is that of 1879, with a maximum air temperature of 2.7 C.

Overall, the Observatory reported that March 2018 was cold and dull, and slightly wetter than average.

This was the coldest March at Armagh since the exceptionally cold March of 2013.

Total precipitation was 66.70 mm (2.63 inches), including eight trace values. This is 20.4% more than the long-term (1796-2010) average March precipitation at Armagh, but only 1.7% more than the most recent (1980-2010) 30-year average March precipitation.

The wettest day was the 14th with 22.9 mm of rainfall, followed by the 1st with just 5.5 mm.

Snow was recorded falling on three days, and snow pellets or ice pellets or hail were reported on a further four days. Some lying snow or ice cover was recorded on five days. The greatest snow depth, on March 1, was approximately 16 cms.

The monthly mean temperature was approximately 4.8 degrees Celsius (40.6 degrees Fahrenheit), nearly 1.0 C cooler than the long-term (1796-2010) average March temperature at Armagh and 1.9 C cooler than the most recent (1981-2010) 30-year average.

The warmest day (highest maximum air temperature) was 12.1 C on the 25th, preceded by 12.0 C on the 24th. The coldest day (lowest maximum air temperature) was 1.2 C on the 1st. This was the ninth coldest March day on record at Armagh.

The warmest night (highest minimum air temperature) was 6.4 C, occurring on both the 15th and 16th. The coldest night (lowest minimum air temperature) was -5.1 C on the 1st, followed by -3.5 C on both the 2nd and 20th.

There were 22 nights with ground frost, the two sharpest of which led to a minimum grass temperature of -11.6 C on the 20th and -9.3 C on the 21st. There were nine nights with air frost.

March 2018 was much duller than average. There were 79.4 hours of strong sunshine, just 72% of the long-term (1881-2010) average at Armagh and 81% of the most recent (1981-2010) 30-year average. This was the dullest March at Armagh since the exceptionally dull March 2013.

The sunniest day was the 20th, with 10 hours of strong sunshine.

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