Last month was the coldest March since 1987, the Meteorological Office confirmed on Thursday. 

The temperature averaged 12.4°C, which was 1.7°C lower than the monthly norm.

The highest temperature was 25.2°C on the last day of the month, having  dipped to a minimum of 6.0°C on March 11. The lowest ever March temperature was 2.2°C in 1949.

In 1987, a minimum of 2.4°C had been recorded, with the air temperature for the month that year having averaged at 11.8°C.

The mean sea surface temperature equalled the March climate norm of 15.3°C.

Less sunshine, lower rainfall

With a total of 176.5 sunshine hours measured, March was much less sunny than the norm, the Met Office said. 

A heavier mean cloud cover of 4.2 oktas together with several instances of dust led to 48.2 sunshine hours less than the norm of 224.7 hours.

Two days in March – 13 and 19 - were marked by a complete absence of sunshine.   

March had 23.8 mm of precipitation, which was lower than the expected 39.7 mm.  

Averaging at 11.1 knots, the wind speed for the month was higher than the climate norm of 9.5 knots.   

Easter weekend forecast

The Met Office said the strong force 6-7 wind from the East Northeast is set to persist until Friday night. A strong wind warning for the public together with a preliminary Gregale advisory for the Grand Harbour and Marsamxett, which are strongly impacted by Northeasterly winds, are currently in force.

The seas are expected to become rough to very rough on Friday.

The wind is expected to decrease on Saturday. An overnight change in the direction between Saturday and Sunday will see the Maltese Islands wake up to light (force 3) winds from the North Northwest on Easter Sunday, which will back West Northwest and become force 4 – 5.

The skies will be generally cloudy over the coming days, with isolated showers expected on Friday afternoon and Saturday night.

Between today and Sunday, the air temperature is expected to range between a low of 12°C and a high of 18°C.

 

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