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A dry October ... until Mediterranean cyclone hit the Maltese islands

Mediterranean cyclone brings warmer and drier October to a damp end • Maximum temperature for October climbs to 31.2°C

11 November 2016, 11:57am
It was a warmer and drier October until a Mediterranean cyclone hits the Maltese Islands towards the end of October. It initially enjoyed high temperatures that peaked at 31.2°C on the second day, but stormy weather towards the end of the month served as a none-too-gentle reminder that winter was approaching and clocks had to be turned back.

The month was warmer than expected, with mean air and sea temperatures surpassing the climatic norm by 2°C and 0.7°C, respectively.

The air temperature for October averaged at 23.5°C and only six days hit maximum temperatures that were cooler than this average.

October was also drier than usual. In fact, the 24mm of precipitation that showered the islands fell 51.6mm short of the expected rainfall for this time of year.

To date, October 1951 holds the wettest record for this month, with precipitation levels amounting to an extraordinary 476.5mm.

Last month’s storm, which classifies as a typical Mediterranean cyclone, brewed as the month was coming to a close. Low pressure and strong Gregale winds followed.

Last Friday and Saturday of October, the islands were battered by wind gusts that equalled or exceeded 34 knots, picking a maximum velocity of 45 knots at one point on the 29th. On the day, the temperature dipped to the month’s minimum of 16.7°C and a total absence of sunshine added to the gloom.

By the morrow, the wind had died down to a mean speed of 7.1 knots and no precipitation was recorded, allowing clean-ups of debris left in the wake of the storm to start. With only 1.4 hours of sunshine registered, the day remained quite gloomy.

In general, October was duller than usual, enjoying 19 hours of sunshine less than the climatic norm of 218 hours. This resulted in part from a heavier mean cloud cover of 4.3 oktas, rather than the 3.6 oktas expected for this time of year.

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