Despite going more than two weeks without any rain, Clare recorded a year-on-year increase in the amount of rain which fell last month.

According to figures obtained from the Met Eireann station at Shannon Airport, the monthly rainfall last month was almost half what it normally is for the month of February. Despite the unseasonably dry conditions, last month actually represented a year-on-year increase in rainfall in the county from 38.6 millimeters in 2012 to 49.6 this year.

Indeed, last month’s dry weather is a continuation of a trend which has been seen in Clare over the last three years. Rainfall levels in February, March and April have been uncommonly low since 2011, with wetter than normal months of June and July also recorded.

Farmers and gardeners in the county can also expect a slower than normal start to the growing season this year, as average temperatures are down on previous years. The average ground temperature in Clare last month was just 5.3 degrees, compared to a positively balmy 7.7 degrees for the same month in 2012.

Despite the positive effects of the recent dry spell, the low soil temperature will hamper the growth of grass and non-hardy vegetables and plants.

The recent cold snap could also have a detrimental effect on grass growth in the county. The sub-freezing of this week looks likely to knock back any early growth across the county.

This comes as many farmers throughout the county are struggling for winter feed as a result of last year’s poor silage harvest.

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Andrew has been working in the media in the West of Ireland for more than a decade. During that time he has been shortlisted for many national journalism awards, served as a judge for the Choice Music Prize in 2008 and was part of the nominating panel for the Meteor Ireland Music Awards from 2008 to 2011. He holds an MA in Journalism and Public Relation and a BA in English, Sociology and Politics. He is currently working on his debut novel. A selection of his writings, including a number of new short stories can be viewed on Fighting Talk - http://fightingtalknow.blogspot.ie/ Follow Andrew on twitter: @Andrew_CPeople Contact Andrew on [email protected]

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