More than 90% of winter days had sunshine in Gozo and Malta
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During December, January and February – which constitute the meteorological winter – the sun shone for over 490 hours and the air temperature never dipped below the 6°C mark to ultimately average at 13.5°C, the Met Office said today.
Tourists travelling to Malta between December and February, in a survey cited the weather as one of the top three reasons that drew them to the island, it said.
Both winter’s highest maximum air temperature of 20.2°C and the lowest minimum were recorded in December.
At 17.9°C, December’s average sea surface temperature was the highest for the season, marginally exceeding the norm for the twelfth month. January’s (16.5°C) and February’s (15.8°C) average sea surface temperatures were also higher than the climate norm by 0.7°C and 0.8°C, respectively.
Five days in the winter months were exceptionally bright, on which the sun shone for between 9.2 and 10 hours.The Met Office remarked that however, the sun did not as much as peek out on six days out of a total of 90 winter days.
Generally mild winter weather was punctuated by some very strong winds, five thundery days, four hail occurrences, and 117mm of rainfall recorded within the span of 24 hours in February.
The Met Office said that the following two months were significantly drier than expected, and producing 181.4mm of winter’s total precipitation of 239mm, February was the season’s wettest month and the second wettest February on record since 1923.
The first three months of the year were windier than expected, maintaining an average wind speed of 11.1 knots, with January the season’s most blustery month. The month also accounted for winter’s strongest gust, which blew at 47 knots from a north-westerly direction on the 2nd of January.
The Met Office said that March was brighter, warmer, wetter, and windier than the norm for this time of year.
There were 238.8 hours of sunshine and the maximum air temperature exceeded the climatic norm by 0.9°C to peak at 23.5 °C on the second day.
37.9mm of precipitation made the month wetter than expected at this time of year. 27.2mm of this total, and one of the two hail occurrences for the month, were recorded on the 23rd of March.
11.2 knots was the month’s mean wind speed, reaching a maximum of 41.8 knots on the 25th of March.
Photograph by Alain Salvary