COLD SPELL MAKES FEBRUARY THE SECOND COOLEST MONTH ON RECORD
- Highest air temperature reaches 19.4°C, lowest drops to 3.7°C
- 93 mm of rain measured in February, exceeding the climate norm
- Over 192 hours of sunshine recorded
February started off on a relatively warm note, with the month’s air temperature peaking at 19.4°C on the second day. However, a sharp drop in air temperatures to a frosty low of 3.7°C on the 23rd of the month, coupled with a mean minimum temperature of 8.7°C, led February to become the second coldest month to ever be recorded by the Meteorological Office.
As temperatures plummeted between the 23th and 24th of the month, strong winds battered the Maltese Islands and whipped up rough seas. Gusty winds blowing from a north-easterly direction and reaching 54 knots, forced the cancellation of a number of highly anticipated outdoor events. Windy conditions continued throughout the weekend, with gusts greater than or equal to 34 knots being recorded until the 25th of the month. While these winds were among the strongest to be registered in recent years, the highest wind gust was actually recorded on February 4th 1955, reaching 70 knots, which is equivalent to approximately 130 km/h.
Heavy rain also poured down on the parade of Carnival enthusiasts whose floats were due to be exhibited the following week. In fact, a total of 43.8 mm fell on February 23rd, amounting to almost half the amount of rain received by the Islands throughout February. Registering a total of 93 mm of rainfall spread out over 11 days, February was wetter than the climate norm, but produced just half the amount of rain recorded in February 2018. Thunderstorms and hail were also a common occurrence throughout the month, with double the norm of thundery days rattling the Islands on 6 separate occasions, and three reports of hail being received by the end of February.
Despite the inclement weather which characterised the last weekend of the month, at 3.5 oktas February’s cloud cover was slightly lower than the climate norm and the total sunshine hours exceeded the amount expected at this time of year. As the clouds gradually started to clear, the Maltese Islands enjoyed their fair share of sunshine, boasting an above-average mean of 6.9 hours of sunshine per day, amounting to a monthly total of 192.2 hours. Basking in 10.1 hours of bright sunshine, Valentine’s Day was the brightest day of the month.