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January 2017

The averaging period used for the following assessment was 1981-2010.

At the start of January, a northerly incursion introduced mostly dry, settled and fairly cold conditions with some overnight frost. The weather turned mild and unsettled from the 6th, but there was a cold snap between the 11th and 14th with snow for most places, although lying snow tended to be short-lived on low ground. There was a prolonged settled spell with high pressure in charge during the second half of the month, which brought mild temperatures to the north and west of Scotland, but cold frosty weather to the south-east. It turned mild, cloudy and changeable towards the end of the month.

The provisional UK mean temperature was 3.9 °C, which is 0.2 °C above the 1981-2010 long-term average. It was a cold month in the south-east but generally milder than average elsewhere; both mean maximum and minimum temperatures were about 1.5 °C above average in north-west Scotland, but mean minimum temperatures were 1.5 to 2.0 °C below average in south-east England. It was a dry month except in central southern and south-eastern England, with 62 % of average rainfall overall. Sunshine was 120 % of average, making it the 10th sunniest January in a series from 1929, although sunshine was close to or a little below normal in north Wales and parts of the Midlands.

The UK monthly extremes were as follows:  A maximum temperature of 14.2 °C was recorded at Achfary (Sutherland) and Plockton (Wester Ross) on the 25th.  A minimum temperature of -10.1 °C was recorded at Braemar (Aberdeenshire) on the 30th.  In the 24 hours ending at 0900 GMT on the 15th, 53.6 mm of rain fell at Cluanie Inn  (Inverness-shire).  A wind gust of 81 knots (93 mph) was recorded at High Bradfield (South Yorkshire) on the 11th.  A snow depths of 18 cm was reported at Tulloch Bridge (Inverness-shire) on the 13th.

This satellite image taken on 26 January 2017 shows the UK in a cold south-easterly airstream from the near continent. Much of the country was under a blanket of cloud, and over central and eastern England temperatures remained below freezing all day. In contrast, north-western parts were sunny and much warmer with 7.3 hours of sunshine recorded at Kinloss (Moray) and a maximum of  13.4 °C  at Aultbea (Wester Ross). Image copyright Met Office / NASA.

Weather impacts

There were various impacts from wind, snow, ice and fog across parts of the UK through the month.

Icy conditions across parts of eastern and south-east England on 5th and 6th led to a number of traffic accidents.

During the early hours of Wednesday 11th a lorry overturned on the Forth Road Bridge, completely closing the bridge until evening resulting in significant disruption and economic impacts. Strong winds and some snow led to localised power outages across Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland.

Snow affected roads across the north of Scotland during the morning of the 12th, with jack-knifed lorries causing disruption on the A9. As the snow showers spread further south, snow disruption was reported on mainly high level roads across southwest Scotland, northwest England and Northern Ireland. In south-east England, snow, fallen trees and flooding affected local roads across London, Kent, Sussex and Surrey. Snow on the M25 caused long delays and problems on some slips roads, and five flights at Gatwick were cancelled due to snow.

On Friday 13th further wintry conditions and fallen trees affected high parts of northern Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England, leading to travel disruption, power outages and school closures. A fallen tree blocked the Norwich to Lowestoft rail line in Suffolk, and snow, ice and fallen trees caused localised transport disruption across south-east England. NHS Crawley reported a spike in A&E attendance due to slips, trips and falls in the wintry conditions.

After a relatively quiet spell of weather, freezing fog and ice caused transport problems across south-east England later in the month. On Monday 23rd there were a number of accidents due to both ice and fog in parts of southeast England at first, with hundreds of flights either cancelled or delayed due to freezing fog at Heathrow, Gatwick, London City and Southampton airports. On Tuesday 24th the fog was more widespread and around 100 flights were cancelled at Heathrow, with delays at the other London airports and knock on effects across the UK and Europe. Isle of Wight ferries were suspended, and icy roads caused some localised travel incidents.

Icy roads across on the 28th caused a number of further traffic accidents across south-east England. 

England diary of highlights

January started with a brief northerly outbreak which brought bright and fairly cold weather with overnight frost.  The second week was unsettled and increasingly windy, and there was snow in many places on the 12th-14th.  The second half of the month was mostly dry and settled, and cold at times, especially in the south, but it turned much milder and wetter in the last few days.

The mean temperature for January was provisionally 0.3 °C below the 1981-2010 long-term average.  Both mean maximum and minimum temperatures were generally near or slightly above average in the north and west, but the mean minimum temperature was 1.5 to 2 °C below average in the south-east.  Rainfall was 77 % of average, and it was drier than normal in the north and in the West Country, but with close to or slightly above average rainfall in central southern and south-eastern England.  Sunshine was above normal except in parts of the Midlands, with 117 % of average overall.

1st to 6th

Rain over the north and west spread south on the 1st, reaching the south coast by evening, with showers following behind in the north-east, mainly near the east coast.  There was a bright, frosty start to the 2nd, followed by a sunny day with isolated showers near the east coast.  The south saw sunny spells on the 3rd, but it was cloudy elsewhere with patchy light rain or drizzle in places. After a widespread frost across southern parts, the 4th was cool, with showers down the east coast. The 5th saw a widespread frost, with occasional showers for the east coast again. It turned cloudy and mild on the 6th after a widespread frost, with rain for all parts.

7th to 10th

The 7th was mild and cloudy with hill fog across the south-west and showers later across the far south-east.  There was widespread fog to start the 8th, persisting in places; it was generally cloudy with showery outbreaks of rain in many areas, and became mild with 13.3°C recorded at Preston Cove House (Dorset). Rain over the north-west on the 9th moved steadily south-eastwards, clearing the south-east by evening with scattered showers following behind in the west. The 10th was generally dry in the east, but cloudy with scattered light showers in the west.

11th to 14th

It was mild over the south on the 11th, colder elsewhere with sunshine and blustery showers, wintry over the hills, and winds gusted to 93 mph at High Bradfield (South Yorkshire).  It was cold and very windy, with wintry showers over the north on the 12th, and rain over the south-west spread to all parts from the Midlands southwards, with 34.0 mm at Hastings (Kent), which turned to snow over parts of East Anglia and the Home Counties.  A band of rain, sleet and snow moved south over the Midlands, East Anglia and the south-east on the 13th - dumping 8 cm of lying snow at Buxton (Derbyshire), Leek (Staffordshire) and Copley (Durham) - but cleared away by mid-afternoon, leaving coastal showers, and it was very windy everywhere.  It was sunny down the east coast on the 14th but frequent showers in western parts spread south-eastwards later.

15th to 19th

It was milder on the 15th with early rain across central and eastern parts. The 16th was cool across south-eastern areas and rain persisted in central and southern districts. Patchy rain and drizzle in most places on the 17th except for the south-east where it was colder but sunny. There was a very cold start in the south on the 18th where a sunny day followed with 8.4 hours at East Malling (Kent), but it was cloudy with rain or drizzle elsewhere.  Sunny after a very cold start across the south on the 19th, dull and damp elsewhere.

20th to 26th

Dull and damp over northern counties on the 20th, but sunny elsewhere after a widespread frost and clearance of fog over the Midlands.  It was cloudy over the south-west, Midlands and north-east on the 21st, but sunny elsewhere after a frost and clearance of any fog.  After a very cold start on the 22nd, with a minimum of -9.1°C at Mickleham (Surrey), it was sunny in the east and south-east but cloudy elsewhere with light rain, sleet and snow over the west Midlands and persistent fog around the Thames Estuary. The 23rd was bright across the south-west with 8.4 hours of sunshine reported at Culdrose (Cornwall), and settled elsewhere after a widespread frost, with freezing fog in the south-east. The 24th was milder with lengthy bright spells across East Anglia after a widespread frost and early patchy fog. It stayed cold with frost and freezing fog across the south-east on the 25th but much brighter and milder across the west and north-west. It stayed dry, cold and frosty on the 26th.

27th to 31st

After another cold night, the 27th was cloudier with rain spreading north through mainly western parts from mid-afternoon.  There was rain, sleet and snow across the north on the 28th which cleared away, while elsewhere there was sunshine and showers.  It was showery over the north on the 29th, and rain in the south-west spread to all areas by mid-afternoon, clearing away by late evening.  It was generally cloudy and mild on the 30th, and rain in the south moved slowly eastwards during the day.  On the 31st rain, initially over central parts, gradually spread to all areas by the evening.

Wales diary of highlights

January began wet, but colder drier conditions soon spread from the north.  It was unsettled in the second week, with snow in many places on the 12th and 13th.  The second half of the month was generally dry, quite cold and settled with a fair amount of sunshine for much of the country, but it turned mild, cloudy and wet during the last few days.

The mean temperature for January was provisionally 0.4 °C above the long-term average. It was a dry month with 59 % of average rainfall overall, while sunshine was above normal in the south but close to normal elsewhere, with 103 % of average sunshine overall.

1st to 6th

The 1st was a wet day, the rain clearing away southwards by early evening.  There was a bright, frosty start to the 2nd leading to a sunny day with afternoon showers over Snowdonia and Pembrokeshire.  It was cloudy in the north on the 3rd with some light rain or drizzle, dry and sunny in the south. After a frosty start in southern parts on the 4th, it turned increasingly cloudy with light showers in the west. The 5th was dry after a very cold start and a widespread frost with a minimum temperature of -7.0°C at Bala (Gwynedd).  It started cold again on the 6th before rain spread east from early morning, dropping 26.8 mm at Gogerddan (Ceredigion).

7th to 10th

The 7th was mild and cloudy with coastal fog and patchy rain or drizzle. Fog persisted in places until midday on the 8th, which remained cloudy with some patchy light rain.  It turned wet everywhere by mid-morning on the 9th, the rain clearing later to leave sunshine and frequent, locally heavy showers.  It was cloudy and very mild on the 10th, with a high of 14.1°C at Rhyl (Denbighshire), and more showery rain, but it dried up in the evening.

11th to 14th

On the 11th there was some sunshine, but with isolated showers mainly in the north and west, and it was very windy, with a gust to 71 mph at Capel Curig (Conwy).  It was wet everywhere on the 12th, the rain clearing away by evening, replaced by much colder weather with frequent, heavy and blustery wintry showers.  The 13th saw strong winds and frequent blustery wintry showers, giving 4 cm of lying snow at Sennybridge (Powys).  It was cloudy with rain or showers persisting all day on the 14th but turned milder.

15th to 20th

Overnight rain cleared south on the 15th by early morning leaving a cloudy day with showers. It was another mild day on the 16th, generally dry but cloudy.  The 17th was mild and cloudy with patchy light rain and drizzle, and the 18th remained dull and cloudy with isolated patches of rain or drizzle.  After a frosty start in the south on the 19th, it was generally dull and damp, but brighter and drier further south.  The 20th started with a widespread frost and patchy fog, followed by a sunny, colder day, with 8.1 hours of sunshine recorded at Tenby and Aberporth (Ceredigion), although it was still cloudy in the far north.

21st to 27th

The 21st was a sunny day, particularly in the west, after a frosty start with some patchy fog.  It was cloudy with some light rain, sleet, and snow on the 22nd, clearing away northwards, replaced by wintry showers. Largely dry and settled with plenty of sunshine in western parts on the 23rd after overnight drizzly outbreaks cleared, leaving widespread frost and isolated fog patches. After a cold night across central areas with frost and patchy fog, the 24th was a cloudier day with freshening winds along exposed coasts. It was much brighter on the 25th with 7.8 hours of sunshine recorded at Aberporth after a frosty start with patchy fog across the south-east. It was sunny again across western parts on the 26th, after a frosty start especially inland, and dry throughout. The 27th was cloudier after a frosty start, with rain spreading north through the evening.

28th to 31st

Morning rain cleared away to leave sunshine and some locally heavy showers on the 28th.  Rain spread to all areas by mid-afternoon on the 29th, clearing away in the evening.  It was cloudy and mild on the 30th, with rain crossing the country from early afternoon.  Most places were wet on the 31st, drying up for a time before more rain reached all areas by early evening.

Scotland diary of highlights

January began with a northerly outbreak followed by fairly settled and, at times, cold weather.  It was unsettled in the second week with snow for many parts between the 12th and 14th.  The weather was mostly dry and settled during the second half, and mild in the north but cold at times in the south, and it was sunny at times.

The mean temperature for January was provisionally 1.0 °C above the long-term average, and both mean maximum and minimum temperatures were highest relative to average in the north-west.  It was a dry January except in parts of the north-east, with only 53 % of average rainfall overall.  It was also the third sunniest January in a series from 1929, with 135 % of average sunshine.

1st to 4th

There were frequent showers near northern and eastern coasts on the 1st, wintry on the hills, but it was sunny further south.  The 2nd was cloudy for most with showers in the north and east, wintry on hills, but sunny in the south.  It was cloudy everywhere on the 3rd, with frequent showers over the north and west, and patchy light rain or drizzle elsewhere. Cold on the 4th with light showers across the north-east and sunny spells after an early frost further south.

5th to 8th

On the 5th, after another cold night, it was dry and bright in eastern parts before rain arrived in the evening over western parts. The 6th was cloudy and milder after overnight rain cleared east, leaving patchy outbreaks further south. It was mild and cloudy on the 7th with coastal fog, mist and drizzle across the Western Isles.  The 8th was also cloudy, with patchy light rain over many parts.

9th to 14th

Rain over most areas on the 9th cleared away late morning; blustery showers over the Western Isles quickly spread eastwards and turned wintry over high ground.  There were wintry showers for most places from the start on the 10th, heaviest and most frequent in the north and west.  It stayed mainly dry in the south and east on the 11th, but was cold and windy elsewhere, with gusts to 77 mph at Islay and Tiree (Hebrides) and frequent, heavy showers.  It was colder with widespread wintry showers on the 12th but drier and brighter down the east coast.  There were strong winds and frequent, often heavy, wintry showers for most parts on the 13th, with 13 cm of lying snow at Tulloch Bridge (Inverness-shire), but drier in the south.  Wintry showers persisted for most of the day over the north and west on the 14th, with 53.6 mm at Cluanie Inn (Highland), but it was dry and sunny in the south and east.

15th to 20th

The 15th was mild across the Central Lowlands with early rain, heaviest across western districts, clearing southwards. The 16th was mild across northern parts but mainly cloudy, with light rain in the north-west.  It was generally dull and damp with fog for many areas on the 17th, but brighter in the east.  The north-east was sunny on the 18th following a frosty start, but elsewhere was cloudy with patchy light rain and drizzle.  It was sunny in the east after a cold start on the 19th, dull and damp elsewhere, mild in the north.  The 20th was dull with rain or drizzle in central and southern parts, but dry and sunny further north and east after a frosty start.

21st to 23rd

It was cloudy over Tayside and the Hebrides on the 21st, generally sunny elsewhere after a frosty start, but turning foggy over the north-west and the Borders later on.  There was a very cold and cloudy start to the 22nd, the cloud thick enough to produce some light flurries of snow for the Central Belt and the Borders. Early showers on the 23rd across Sutherland cleared to leave a sunny day for Moray, Aberdeenshire and Berwickshire and it was largely dry elsewhere but with more cloud.

24th to 31st

The 24th was cloudy, with strong winds across western coasts, and particularly mild across Sutherland. It was mild again across the north-west on the 25th with 14.2°C recorded at Achfary (Sutherland) and Plockton (Wester Ross), with patchy rain and strengthening winds across the Western Isles. The 26th was a sunny and dry day and it was again very mild across the north-west Highlands. It was bright through the Spey Valley on the 27th, otherwise generally cloudy and mild with rain spreading north after dark.  It was wet everywhere on the 28th with rain, sleet and snow clearing from the west in the evening.  Generally bright or sunny on the 29th, with 7.5hrs of bright sunshine repcorded at Kinloss (Moray), but showery over the north and west, and some rain and drizzle over the Borders.  There was a very cold and clear start to the 30th, Braemar (Aberdeenshire) having an overnight minimum of -10.1 °C; cloud increased during the day with patchy rain by evening.  It was dull and wet everywhere on the 31st, the rain clearing away south-eastwards into the evening.

Northern Ireland diary of highlights

January began mostly dry and cold, with high pressure close by.  It turned unsettled during the second week, mild initially but with some snow for many places between the 11th and 13th.  There was a mostly dry and settled spell from the 15th to 24th, with variable amounts of sunshine, then the rest of the month was mild and unsettled.

The mean temperature for January was provisionally 0.9 °C above the 1981-2010 average.  Rainfall was well below average everywhere with 46 % of average overall, making it the 8th driest January in a series from 1910.  Sunshine was above average in the east but below average in the west, with 102 % of average sunshine overall.

1st to 5th

The north and west had showers on the 1st, but it was dry and sunny elsewhere.  The 2nd had a cold start and was another day of sunshine and light showers.  The 3rd was cloudy with some patchy light rain and/or drizzle in places. The 4th was dry and quite cold, after an early frost, with sunny spells developing. A cold night on the 5th led to a widespread frost and temperatures dipped to -6.3 °C at Katesbridge (County Down) before milder air accompanied with rain spread into the west later.

6th to 10th

The 6th was milder, with overnight rain clearing east by late morning. The 7th was a cloudy, mild day with early patchy fog and remaining dry.  Some early fog patches cleared on the 8th to leave a cloudy day with some patchy light rain.  Morning rain cleared away on the 9th to leave sunshine and frequent, blustery showers.  It was cloudy and very mild on the 10th, reaching 12.3°C at Murlough (County Down), with rain in the north clearing away by midday.

11th to 13th

The 11th was a cool, windy day with sunshine and wintry showers.  Similar conditions on the 12th with frequent wintry showers and gusts over 65mph around the coasts.  There was also a mix of sunshine and wintry showers for the 13th with gusts to 69 mph at Orlock Head (County Down), and Trassey Slievenaman (County Down) reported 6 cm of lying snow.

14th to 20th

It was cloudy and milder with rain or showers throughout on the 14th. It was cloudy and mild again on the 15th with isolated showery outbreaks across the north. The mild cloudy weather continued on the 16th, with scattered light showers from late afternoon.  It was cloudy again on the 17th, the cloud thick enough at times to produce some light rain or drizzle.  It remained dull and cloudy with patchy rain or drizzle on the 18th and 19th.  Dry but still cloudy on the 20th and a little cooler than of late.

21st to 25th

After a frosty start on the 21st, it was a sunny day once patchy fog had cleared, with 6.8 hours of bright sunshine at Aldergrove (County Antrim).  Cold and cloudy to start on the 22nd with a few isolated wintry showers, but drier and brighter by the afternoon. After a cold night with a widespread frost and -7.1°C recorded at Katesbridge (County Down), the 23rd was fine with bright spells.  The 24th was milder, cloudy but dry. It was cloudy again on the 25th with patchy rain in western parts and windy with gusts of up to 55 mph in places.

26th to 31st

The 26th was mostly dry but cloudy with strong winds and patchy rain spreading into the south-west. A fairly cool, cloudy day followed on the 27th with rain spreading north from early afternoon.  Morning rain cleared away on the 28th to leave sunshine and isolated showers.  It was sunny in the north on the 29th but cloudy with some rain in the south.  It was cloudy and mild on the 30th, with rain from mid-afternoon; 30.0 mm was recorded at Murlough (County Down).  Rain for all parts on the 31st, turning drier and brighter from midday.

 

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