NI's 'wettest winter' in 20 years

NI's 'wettest winter' in 20 years

Spring is on its way after the wettest winter the region has experienced for 20 years.

The torrential downpours and tidal surges experienced in the last few weeks came just months after some of the coldest weather on record gripped the province.Snow drifts of up to 18ft blanketed parts of counties Antrim and Down, leaving farmers cut off from their livestock amid high winds and sub-zero temperatures.Thousands of livestock perished under the heavy snow, stranded from food and shelter.And now after weeks of heavy rain, flooded homes and sand bags, many are wondering when exactly the ground will dry out.Libby McKearney, from the Armagh Observatory, said: "We've been recording the weather since 1795 at Armagh Observatory and we have noticed for December, January and February, which make up the winter months, that it has been particularly wet and in fact the wettest winter here for 20 years."However, compared to southern England, much of which remains under water, the weather expert said Northern Ireland has not fared as badly.In fact, she said that it was the "sunniest February since 2008."When the weather is out-of-sync, it plays havoc with nature. Keen gardeners are hoping for some sunny rays to dry out their sodden lawns and flowerbeds.Brian Hutchinson, of Woodview Garden Centre, told UTV that the next few weeks are crucial."It is just so wet, if you walk over your grass a few times you can see the mud starting to come up through."And January and February are months that people aren't in the garden, they are not doing as much gardening, it is more as we come in to March that we would like to see it dry up."So hopefully the sun will get his hat on sometime soon!


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