A cool start and bright end to 2017

A look back at 2017's weather shows that it was the 23rd driest year the Maltese islands have experienced in the past 94 years

A look back at 2017 shows that whilst November was the dullest month, July was the brightest one, treating islanders to just over 365 hours of summer sunshine.

The highest temperature in 2017 was 38.7°C in July, whilst the lowest of 4.2° was recorded in January. Rainfall for 2017 only amounted to 432mm.

Sunny and practically cloudless July days registered some very hot air temperatures, with the mercury shooting up to the year’s highest maximum of 38.7°C on 13 July. Averaging at 56%, July’s humidity levels were the lowest for 2017; a year which has gone down on record as the least humid since 1951.

What started out to be a dull December, with no sunshine recorded on the first day, became sunnier as the month progressed, with the sixth, seventh and twelfth days each enjoying a maximum of 9.2 hours of sunshine. In the end, the month outshone the climate norm of 156.3 hours of sunshine by a full 36.9 hours, bringing the year to a brighter-than-expected close.


A windswept January, on the other hand, breezed in with a cold snap, which saw the temperature dip to the year’s lowest minimum of 4.2°C on three separate occasions. Although 2017 started on this rather chilly note, on the whole, the year was slightly warmer than the climate norm, maintaining a mean air temperature of 19.2°C. The average sea temperature ranged between August’s 27.3°C and February’s 15.3°C.

Meteorological records show that the year had 24 thundery days - six of which were observed in January - and two hail occurrences, with the first one being reported in January and the second one being reported on the 18 of December. On the morrow, the air temperature dropped to the month’s lowest minimum of 6°C; a full 5°C lower than the 30-year average on record for this time of year. 

Also lower than the climate norm for December was the month’s total rainfall, which amounted to a paltry 44.8mm when compared with the expected 104.8mm. 2017’s wettest month was October, contributing over 23% of the year’s total rainfall of 432mm. Although not as dry as the year preceding it, 2017 was the 23rd driest year the Maltese islands have experienced in the past 94 years.  

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