THIRD-WETTEST OCTOBER ON RECORD DRENCHES THE MALTESE ISLANDS IN 246MM OF RAIN
- October yielded just over 3 times the expected rainfall at this time of year
- Last week of month accounted for more than half the total rainfall
- 8 thunderstorms reported, making October stormier than average
- Sun shone for 39.5 hours less than the expected 218 hours
October’s 246.2mm of precipitation quenched the Maltese islands’ thirst for rain brought on by 12 consecutive drier-than-average months. Having yielded just over three times the rainfall amount expected at this time of year, last month went down on the Meteorological Office’s records as the third wettest October since 1922, after October 1951 (476.5mm) and October 1957 (254.2mm).
On the wettest day of the month – October 25 – 51.6mm of rainfall were measured. More than half of the month’s total rainfall descended during the last week of October as a low-pressure area developed to the south-east of the Maltese islands and brought a bout of inclement weather.
Eight thunderstorms – five of which were reported in the first 14 days – made October a stormier-than-average month. A look at the Meteorological Office’s records shows that in October 2018, 16 thunderstorms had rattled the Maltese islands, earning the month the title of stormiest October since 1951.
Having maintained a higher-than-average mean wind speed of 9.2 knots, last month was also quite blustery. The maximum gust of 38 knots was recorded on October 7, blowing from a northwest by west direction.
Averaging at 20.7°C, the air temperature for October was lower than the climate norm of 21.5°C. While the month’s highest temperature of 27.5°C was recorded on October 5, the lowest temperature dipped to 14.7°C on October 17, as a result of the movement of a cold airmass towards the central Mediterranean from the Balkan Peninsula. The mean sea surface temperature, on the other hand, was 1.5°C higher than the climate norm.
October 17 interrupted generally gloomy weather with 10.5 hours of bright sunshine. During the month, the sun shone for 39.5 hours less than the expected 218 hours of sunshine, partly because of cloudier skies throughout October. The mean cloud cover for the month stood at 4.1 oktas rather than the norm of 3.6 oktas.