A LOOK BACK AT 2023 WEATHER: DRY AND WARM WEATHER CHARACTERISES THE MAJORITY OF THE YEAR
- Nine months were warmer than the climatic norm;
- The highest temperature rose to 42.7°C in July, while the lowest dropped to 5.3°C in February;
- February was by far the wettest month of the year.
For tourists seeking a sun-soaked Mediterranean escape, far from harsh winter weather and bitterly cold temperatures, Malta proved to be the ideal destination in 2023. In fact, last year was characterised by weather which was both warmer and drier than the climatic norm, as the Meteorological Office measured 3,020 hours of sunshine, with seven months being brighter than the norm.
Temperatures surpassing the monthly averages were observed throughout the year. Perhaps most notably, July’s sweltering weather led the month to go down in the Meteorological Office’s records as the warmest month since 1922, as the average temperature reached a blistering 29.6°C. At the peak of a relentless heatwave that spanned 10 days, the mercury soared to 42.7°C, with the Meteorological Office issuing multiple weather warnings for extreme heat as temperatures recordings consistently hovered around the 40°C mark.
The last months of the year followed these weather trends, bringing with them higher-than-average temperatures. This includes the month of December, which opened the winter season with an average temperature of 15.9°C, exceeding the climatic norm by 1.4 °C. As the coldest month of 2023, February was the only month whose average temperature dropped below the climatic norm. The 18th day of the month marked the coolest day of the year, recording a temperature drop to 5.3°C. The rest of the months exhibited warmer temperatures, although May and June stood out as exceptions with temperatures closely aligning with climatic norms.
Over the course of the last precipitation year (between September 2022 and August 2023), the Maltese Islands received 544.8 mm of rain, which was in line with the annual average. Almost one-third of the rainfall was recorded in February 2023 when storm Helios hit the islands, making it one of the wettest on record. In contrast, March was much drier than usual, with only 3 mm of rain measured, which is 36.7 mm less than the monthly average. Despite April and May being wetter than usual, they were not enough to make up for the drought experienced in March, resulting in a much drier-than-average spring. July was the only month to remain completely dry, with no rainfall registered.
After a dry summer, autumn failed to bring seasonable weather to the Maltese islands. In fact, the amount of rain measured between September and October fell short of the monthly quota, with the latter becoming the driest October on the Meteorological Office’s records. A meagre 0.2 mm of rainfall was measured in October; 77.4 mm less than the climatic norm. This also translated into an absence of the thunderstorms typically associated with weather transitions in October. Out of a total of 21 thunderstorms in 2023, seven of them hit the Maltese islands in the first month of the year.
While 2023 may have been deficient in terms of rainfall and lightning, the same cannot be said for the wind, which exceeded the climatic norm in eight months. April and May emerged as the windiest months, boasting an average wind speed of 10.1 knots. The most potent gust occurred on November 25, originating from the northwest and reaching an impressive speed of 53 knots.
Published on 30.01.2024