Floods in Ireland
© Laura Hutton
Padraig McNiffe stands in the flooded fields near his farm in Newtownflood, outside Athlone.
It was the wettest February since records began in many parts of the country, with some places experiencing once-in-100-years levels of rainfall.

Two of the oldest weather stations in the country, PhoenixPark in Dublin and Malin Head in Donegal, had their wettest February since recording started in 1850.

Other weather stations that broke records were Shannon Airport, Co Clare (record length 74 years); Newport, Co Mayo (60 years); Claremorris, Co Mayo (56 years); Casement, Co Dublin (56 years); and Knock Airport (23 years).

Weather stations at Claremorris and Shannon Airport had once-in-100 years amounts of rainfall. Ballyhaise, Co Cavan, recorded once-in-90-years amounts of rain. Finner, Co Donegal; and Gurteen, Co Sligo, recorded once-in-60-years levels of rain.

Met Éireann long-term forecasters said the frequency of extreme weather such as the February floods could be attributed to climate change. However, they cautioned: "Without further detailed analysis, it's not possible to assess the role of climate change in this complex event."

The extreme weather, which mostly affected the northern half of the country, was caused by a strong stratospheric polar vortex that left the jet stream farther south than normal, steering a series of vigorous Atlantic depressions towards the northern half of the country.

Three storms

It also brought with it three storms in the month, Ciara, Dennis and Jorge which in turn led to persistent flooding in many parts of the midlands and west.

The weekend was also characterised by high winds. Mace Head in Co Galway recorded its highest ever wind speed for February with a gust of 133km/h on February 29th.

The highest monthly rainfall total for February was recorded at Newport, Co Mayo, with 342.7mm (271 per cent of its February long-term average).

The lowest monthly rainfall total was recorded at Dublin Airport with 130.4mm (267 per cent of its February average).