Mild De­cem­ber brings fifth dri­est year on record to a close

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Last year was the fifth dri­est on record since 1923, and al­though it started with chilly tem­per­a­tures and two hail storms in Jan­uary it ended on a warmer note, with slightly higher-than-av­er­age tem­per­a­tures in De­cem­ber, the Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal of­fice at the Malta In­ter­na­tional Air­port re­ported yes­ter­day.

A quick look at last year’s weather trends shows that through­out the year, air tem­per­a­tures var­ied be­tween a min­i­mum of 5.9°C and a max­i­mum of 37.5°C.

Stand­ing at 18.9°C, De­cem­ber’s av­er­age sea tem­per­a­ture was invit­ing enough for a swim and fell some­where in be­tween the warm­est av­er­age for the year last Au­gust, 25.7°C, and the coolest in March, 15.9°C. De­cem­ber’s air tem­per­a­tures were also quite warm, main­tain­ing an av­er­age of 17.1°C through­out.

These un­sea­son­ably warm tem­per­a­tures were not al­ways ac­com­pa­nied by sun­shine. In fact, the sun failed to make an ap­pear­ance on four days in De­cem­ber. More­over, with 151.6 hours of sun­shine recorded, the month was slightly duller than nor­mal for this time of year.

The bleak­est and wettest month in 2016 was Novem­ber, with 150.1 hours of sun­shine and 90mm of rain recorded. The month also ac­counted for 11 thun­dery days out of a to­tal of 28 in­stances heard last year.

On the other end of the spec­trum, July was the bright­est and dri­est month, bathing the is­land in 370.8 hours of glo­ri­ous sun­shine and a mere 0.4mm of rain. This month was also the calmest, with me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal records show­ing that winds blew at a mean speed of 7.2 knots. In con­trast, April was the most windswept month, bat­tered by gusts that main­tained a mean speed of 10.9 knots.

The to­tal pre­cip­i­ta­tion for De­cem­ber fell 44mm short of the 104.8mm ex­pected for this month and brought to a close a year that was marked by a short­age of rain. With rain­fall lev­els amount­ing to just 324.8mm, 2016 be­came the fifth dri­est year on record since 1923.

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