Snow, storms and sunshine – a year of contrasts

Banked snow around the Peel to Kirk Michael coast road

Banked snow around the Peel to Kirk Michael coast road

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2013 was a year of contrasts, the latest figures from the Met Office show.

A sunny spell in the summer offset the very cold spring – meaning that the average temperature for 2013 of 10C was very close to the long-term figure.

The Met Office, based at Ronaldsway, recorded a maximum temperature of 25.6C on July 9.

While the lowest air temperature of minus 1.6°C was recorded on March 12 and the lowest ground temperature of minus 8.2°C was seen a couple of days later on the 14th.

There were 1,720 hours of bright sunshine during the year, 142 hours above normal.

July was the sunniest month with 291 hours, almost 50 per cent more than the long term average.

Rainfall totalled 874.8mm ( 34.4” ) at Ronaldsway, close to normal.

The driest month was July with 30.2mm (1.2”) and the wettest month was October with 168.7mm (6.6”).

But most of the flooding problems occurred towards the end of December when the ground was saturated.

The mean wind speed measured 15 mph compared to the long term mean of 14.1mph – mainly due to stronger winds in spring and December.

There were 24 days with sleet or snow, 26 days of fog, 15 days with hail and just two days with thunderstorms at Ronaldsway. March was the headline month with significant snowfall on Friday, the 22nd.

A severe easterly gale caused significant drifting on the hills and down to the west coast. Many roads were impassable and farmers suffered heavy livestock losses buried in the drifts.

Cable icing brought down power lines leaving large communities without electricity.

The Ronaldsway statistics confirmed it as the coldest March since 1969.

April and May were also cold months, the coldest on record since 1986 and 1996 respectively.

It meant the snow thawed very slowly, with some patches on the hills persisting into May.

Both months were significantly more windy than average.

The summer started properly in July. It was the sunniest July since 1955 with 15 days when the temperature topped 20C. There were 15 days of fog in July and August, the highest combined total on record.

September lacked sunshine, the dullest for 20 years.

October was unsettled with Atlantic depressions bringing wet and windy spells.

Rainfall at Ronaldsway totalled 168.7mm (6.6” ) making it the wettest October since the record breaker of 2002.

The year ended with another spell of unsettled weather in December.

A series of Atlantic depressions brought strong winds causing travel disruption and heavy rain with the inevitable localised flooding.

The average wind speed for the month measured 22.2mph, the highest December mean since the anemometer was moved from the old control tower roof in 1966.

There were eight days with gales with the strongest gusts of 74mph at the airport recorded on the 5th.

Met Office records date back to 1947.

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