The mean temperature for the first half of February was 9.6°C which was 2.7°C lower than the 12.3°C average norm for the month, the MIA Met Office said today.

The minimum mean temperature for the Maltese Islands in February is 9.3°C, and the MetOffice registered a mean low of 6.8°C. The lowest minimum temperature recorded over this period was 3.6°C on the 14th February. Compared to recent years, the lowest temperatures recorded at Malta Airport were in 1999 with a 2.1°C, and 3°C in 1984.

A total of 80.6 mm of rain fell in the first two weeks of February at Malta Airport which is higher than the climate norm for the whole month of 61.3 mm. During this period hail was heavier and we had 4 days in two weeks, compared to the norm of 1 day for the whole month. In tthe first half of February we had 5 days of thunder against the norm of 3 days.

This cold weather is partly due to the so-called Arctic Oscillation which is the difference in pressure between Polar areas and mid-latitude areas (where most of the population in Europe lives). During the first weeks of February, this negative Arctic Oscillation, which favours cold conditions in Europe and relatively warmer conditions in the Arctic, produced the cold spell. This cold air coming from the north was fed with a strong moisture flux from the central Mediterranean Sea. This caused heavy snowfall over parts of south eastern Europe such as the Balkans, Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, and Algeria and other countries in Northern Africa.

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