Heavy rainfall in Ireland leads to wettest March on record, impacting agriculture

Ireland experiences wettest March on record, heavily affecting agriculture

Ireland experienced its wettest March on record last month, with 173.3 mm (6.8 inches) or 169% of the average for the month. The wettest March followed on from what was confirmed provisionally as the fourth driest February on record. Before last month, the previous wettest March was in 2019.

Heavy rain caused production gaps for Irish growers, with Stephen McCormack from McCormack Family Farms saying, “All of our crops will be late. We have not been able to sow anything since February 28, so we will not hit full production until the end of May, a month later than normal.”

“All Irish growers are in the same situation, there will be shortages when the Spanish season stops, we will all be looking elsewhere for supply.

“It seems to all about extremes nowadays, last year we were in drought, now too much rain and in a few months, I’ll be complaining it’s too dry again,” McCormack said.

The majority of monthly rainfall totals were above their 1981-2010 Long-Term Average (LTA), according to data provided by MET Eireann.

The percentage of monthly rainfall values ranged from 90% (the month’s lowest monthly rainfall total of 93.2 mm (3.67 inches)) at Finner, Co Donegal to 227% (monthly rainfall total of 119.3 mm (4.70 inches)) at Dublin Airport, Co Dublin (its wettest March since 1947).

Monthly rainfall totals were as much as 239.2 mm (9.42 inches) (193% of its LTA) at Valentia Observatory, Co Kerry (its wettest March since 1963). The highest daily rainfall total was 34.7 mm (1.37 inches) at Cork Airport, Co Cork on Thursday 9th (its highest daily fall for March since 2013).

ireland provisional monthly average rainfall march 2023
Rainfall % of 1981 – 2010 Monthly Average for March 2023 (Provisional). Credit: Met Eireann

Four stations had their wettest March on record. These were Athenry, Co Galway with 185.9 mm (7.32 inches) (record length 32 years), Mace Head, Co Galway with 151.2 mm (5.95 inches) (length 18 years), Mount Dillon, Co Roscommon with 169.8 mm (6.69 inches) (length 18 years) and Casement Aerodrome, Co Dublin with 109.3 mm (4.30 inches) (length 59 years).

Along with Dublin Airport, Phoenix Park, Co Dublin also had its wettest March since 1947 with 121.3 mm (4.78 inches). Claremorris, Co Mayo had its wettest March since 1978 with 164.5 mm (6.48 inches) and Cork Airport, Co Cork had its wettest March since 1981 with 211.3 mm (8.32 inches). Sherkin Island, Co Cork had its wettest March since 1989 with 179.6 mm (7.07 inches) and Moore Park, Co Cork had its wettest March since 1996 with 144.4 mm (5.69 inches).

The wettest March followed on from what was confirmed provisionally as the fourth driest February on record. Before last month, the previous wettest March was in 2019.


1 Ireland saw the wettest March on record, production gaps inevitable – Fresh Plaza – April 21, 2023

2 Climate Statement for March 2023 – Met Eireann – April 4, 2023

Featured image credit: The Watchers


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