Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Northern Ireland's climate of confusion

Roses in December cap crazy year for weather

In Northern Ireland we are more than used to being buffeted by the wind and rain, but 2011 caused havoc with just about every day-to-day plan, wardrobe choice and even our native wildlife.

The prepared among us packed sunglasses and an umbrella, as each day brought hail, snow, sleet, gales, scorching sunshine and other such meteorological delights.

If it was supposed to be warm, it was cold, and when we finally got ourselves prepared for another bitterly cold December, the mercury rose.

Those among us hoping for a white Christmas were out of luck this year, as Northern Ireland experienced its mildest Christmas Day on record.

It's been so warm even plants are confused with roses blooming early at Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park in Belfast.

John Hutchinson, a forecaster with the Meteogroup, told the Belfast Telegraph that 2011 has been a mixed bag weather-wise for Northern Ireland.

"Temperatures during the summer were below average, but April and November were exceptionally warm, probably helping the year to be a little warmer than average," he said.

"Some months were very wet, such as February and also October, when heavy rain caused flooding around the 24th, while January, March and April were much drier than normal.

"The warmest temperature at Aldergrove was 24.3C on June 3, while the lowest was -7.8 on the December 21.

"December 2011 did have some cold weather but it turned milder towards the end with the mildest Christmas Day temperature being recorded at Murlough."

Matthew Oates, wildlife adviser at the National Trust, said our erratic weather has been confusing for our native wildlife.

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