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Co Armagh basks in sunniest March ever recorded as sunny spells forecast this weekend


Armagh Observatory

Armagh Observatory

Armagh Observatory

Last month was the sunniest March in Co Armagh for at least 141 years, the warmest for five, and the driest for a decade, according to Armagh Observatory.

The observatory reported that last month was the sunniest March in the county since daily sunshine records began at the facility towards the end of April 1880.

With a total of 188.4 hours of strong sunshine, March 2022 had approximately 85% more hours of strong sunshine than than the 140-year long-term March average.

It also broke a 128-year record, with March 1894 being the next sunniest springtime month documented by the observatory, which has been recording the weather at Armagh since 1795.

The three next sunniest Marchs in the county’s history were in 1929, 1905 and 2003.

The news follows confirmation from the Met Office that Northern Ireland as a whole had provisionally recorded its sunniest March on record with almost 183 hours of sunshine across the month.

The feat is all the more impressive considering the previous record for the sunniest March in Northern Ireland was all the way back in 1929, with records going back to 1919.

A spokesperson for the national forecaster said “it’s difficult to put any kind of causality” on why March was so sunny and dry in NI.

"The weather in March wasn’t that extraordinary, it just happened to be particularly sunny in northern and western areas such as Scotland and Northern Ireland. It wasn’t especially warm in terms of average temperatures. It was just the way the jet stream was arranged for quite a bit of March,” he commented.

Armagh Observatory further found that the last day of March 2022 was the brightest, with 11.6 hours of strong sunshine reported, and it was the third dry March in a row at the Orchard county.

The average monthly temperature was 7.76 °C, very slightly warmer than that for March 2021 and 2019. This was approximately 1.9 °C warmer than the 225-year long-term March average at Armagh and it was the warmest March at Armagh since March 2017, which had a mean temperature of 8.2 °C.

March 26 has been the hottest day of the year, so far, and the warmest March day at Armagh for 10 years, since 21 °C was recorded on March 27, 2012 during a similar spell of unusually warm weather.

This year's March 'heatwave' was also largely dry and sunnier than average.

It was also the driest March at Armagh for 10 years, that is, since the exceptionally dry March 2012. The wettest day was the 9th with a total of 14.5 mm (0.57 inches) of rainfall.

Hail was reported on the afternoon of the 4th and 8th, and rainbows on the 8th and 13th.

The Met Office has predicted rain, followed by sunshine and scattered showers throughout the coming weekend. It is also expected to be windy, with a maximum temperature of 9 °C on Friday.

Saturday is forecasted to be mostly dry with sunny spells and isolated light showers are possible. Sunday will be mainly dry and bright but with clouding over later in the day.

A yellow Met Office wind warning was put in place across much of the province from Wednesday evening to 5am on Thursday, with winds of up to 60mph battering counties Armagh, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone overnight.

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