LAST METEOROLOGICAL WINTER YIELDED JUST UNDER HALF THE EXPECTED RAINFALL FOR THE SEASON
- 115.8 mm of rain were measured between Dec. 2021 and Feb. 2022
- With just 4.0 mm of rain yielded, last February was one of the driest Februaries on record
- The winter season was sunnier than the norm; 575.3 sunshine hours recorded
- The last weekend of the astronomical winter is expected to be cold and blustery
METEOROLOGICAL WINTER 2021/2022 ROUND-UP
Last meteorological winter yielded 115.8 mm of precipitation, or just under half the total rainfall expected during this season according to the 1991-2020 climate norm. The Maltese Islands last experienced a winter season that was wetter than the climate norm between December 2014 and February 2015, back when 312.7 mm of precipitation had been measured.
All three winter 2021/2022 months were drier than their respective climate norms but, having produced almost 65 mm of rain less than the monthly quota, February was by far the driest. The first day in February, which produced 3.2 mm of rain together with hail and the month’s strongest wind gust of 55 knots, may have raised hopes that February’s rainfall would partly make up for the previous two winter months. However, by the end of the month, only 4.0 mm of rain had been measured, making last February one of the driest Februaries on the Meteorological Office’s records.
What the winter months lacked in rainfall and thunderstorms, which amounted to just three for the whole season, they made up for in sunshine hours. Clearer skies were observed throughout the season, with each month’s cloud cover being lower than expected. These lower cloud covers partly contributed to the clocking of almost 55 sunshine hours in excess of the seasonal norm of 522 sunshine hours.
The winter months maintained an average air temperature that was 0.6°C lower than the climate norm of 13.3°C. While the maximum air temperature for the season was recorded on Boxing Day at 18.9°C, the lowest temperature plummeted to 4.2°C on January 25. A browse through the Meteorological Office’s archives reveals that the lowest temperature ever since 1923 was recorded on January 29 1981, when the mercury had dipped to a chilly 1.4°C.
While February brought the meteorological winter to a close, the astronomical winter is still on its way out, and it is expected to make a cold and blustery exit.
Cloudy skies will dominate most of the weekend, with isolated showers being forecast for Sunday. On Saturday, strong winds blowing from an East Southeast direction are expected to reach Force 7 to 8, whipping up very rough seas. While the sea will remain unsettled until Sunday, the day is expected to be calmer than Saturday, as Force 6 winds from the Easterly direction back East Northeast and gradually die down to Force 5.
Between Saturday and Sunday, the air temperature will range between lows of 7°C and highs of 13°C, with the maximum temperatures feeling even colder as a result of the strong winds that will characterise the weekend.
Published on: 18.03.2022