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A man carries supplies in the aftermath of a flood in Limerick City last month. Photo by: Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland

Meteorologists announce wettest winter on record in Ireland

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A man carries supplies in the aftermath of a flood in Limerick City last month. Photo by: Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland

This winter was the wettest one on record in Ireland, according to Met Eireann, the Irish meteorological service.

Storms and winds up to 110 miles per hour were so bad that many towns, particularly along the western and southern coasts, are still working on damage recovery.

It’s only a few weeks since canoes and boats carried people across flooded streets, including in Cork City.

Rain, wind and wave records were set between November and February. A wave up to five stories high was video recorded by a ship’s captain off the Irish coast, and surfers from across the world rode 50 foot waves off Mullaghmore in Co. Sligo.

Met Eireann revealed that the frequent and persistent Atlantic systems at the end of December and into January and February saw more rain dumped on some weather stations than in more than a century.

Some €70 million has been set aside to deal with infrastructure damage from the series of powerful weather systems and more money is expected to be needed. One insurance company said the storm damage in February could add up to €130 million.

Valentia reported its wettest winter since records began in 1866 with 33.3 inches while Malin Head reported its wettest winter since 1885 with 20.9 inches.

Shannon Airport had its worst winter for rain going back over 68 years of records, and Mullingar reported its wettest winter in 63 years with 20.9 inches and 17.5 inches of rain respectively.

Met Eireann said a new record was also set for the biggest seas off the Irish coast with a wave 82 feet high reported at the Kinsale Energy gas platform on February 12. That day’s storm left about a quarter of million homes and businesses without electricity at one stage.

On the same day on the rigs 31 miles south of Cork winds reportedly gusted to 110 miles per hour.

The highest gust inland was 98 miles per hour at Shannon Airport on February 12, the highest on record for winter in 68 years.

Experts said the series of depressions to hit Ireland and Britain were caused by a shift in the jet stream, the fast-moving layer of air in the upper atmosphere which dictates weather patterns in the North Atlantic.

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