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January 2018

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

January started mild and changeable, and it was very windy on the 2nd/3rd with the passage of Storm Eleanor.  It turned more settled and quite cold between the 6th and 12th, with high pressure often close to the British Isles.  A changeable westerly type returned for the second half of the month, and it was generally mild in the south, but the third week was cold in Scotland, Northern Ireland and parts of northern England, with significant snow at times.

The provisional UK mean temperature was 4.1 °C, which is 0.4 °C above the 1981-2010 long-term average.  Both maximum and minimum temperatures were between 1.0 and 1.5 °C above average over much of southern England, but between 0.5 and 1.0 °C below in northern Scotland.  Rainfall was 110% of average, and most parts of the UK had near or rather above average rainfall, with the excess approaching 50% in Northern Ireland, but in contrast it was very dry in parts of Aberdeenshire.  Sunshine was 103% of average, and most regions had near average sunshine, but parts of northern Scotland were much sunnier than average.

The UK monthly extremes were as follows:  A maximum temperature of 15.1 °C was recorded at Monks Wood (Cambridgeshire) on the 28th.  A minimum temperature of -13.7 °C was recorded at Altnaharra and Kinbrace (Sutherland) on the 21st.  In the 24 hours ending at 0900 GMT on the 15th, 82.2 mm of rain fell at Skye Alltdearg House (Inverness-shire). A wind gust of 81 knots (93 mph) was recorded at Capel Curig (Gwynedd) on the 17th.  A snow depth of 38 cm was recorded at Eskdalemuir (Dumfries & Galloway) on the 17th.

This rainfall radar image at 0900 UTC on 24 January shows Storm Georgina located at the northern tip of the Western Isles, with an associated active cold front moving south-eastwards across England and Wales. A line of intense rainfall at the leading edge of the front stretches unbroken from Lincolnshire to Cornwall.

The following visible satellite image shows the widespread snow-cover across Scotland on January 26th. Image copyright Met Office / NOAA / NASA

Weather impacts

On the 2nd and 3rd, as Storm Eleanor passed, some lorries overturned on the M5 and the A15. Some bridges were closed, and trees were brought down causing transport disruption and also some power outages: over 80,000 properties lost power. Some flooding was reported in the south-east of England, Wales and southern Scotland. Ferries along the south coast were cancelled, and buildings were damaged along the north coast of Cornwall due to the sea overtopping sea walls.  On the 4th, in Wales over 3000 properties lost power. A number of trees were brought down and there was localised flooding in Hampshire.

On the 10th and 11th, some flights were cancelled at Glasgow Airport due to fog, with some ferry services in Scotland and Northern Ireland also cancelled.  

Between the 16th and 22nd, there were impacts from wintry weather over much of the country.  Some roads were closed, and there were numerous road traffic accidents which resulted in two fatalities in Northern Ireland. Numerous schools were closed across Northern Ireland, northern England and Scotland, and there were also power outages in Northern Ireland.  On the night of the 16th/17th there was severe travel disruption in Scotland, with massive delays on the M74 as several hundred vehicles became stranded causing a 7-mile traffic jam, and some 60 HGVs had to be towed after jack-knifing.

On the 21st, there was travel disruption across the east of England and the Midlands with some roads closed due to snow. East Midlands Airport was closed for a time and Stansted Airport was also affected.  As milder air brought rain and snowmelt, some surface water issues affected west Wales and south-west England with some roads closed due to flooding, and a landslip onto a rail line.

On the 24th, heavy rain caused railway signalling issues between Linlithgow and Edinburgh, and a landslide in Dumfries & Galloway. In Northern Ireland, north-west England and the Midlands, fallen trees caused disruption. In the east of England, the Orwell Bridge was closed, a building in Huntingdon was damaged and ferries between Dover and Calais and to the Isle of Wight were delayed. Roads were blocked and rail services were delayed due to fallen trees. There were power outages in parts of southern England, and some travel delays, including to flights between Newquay, Lands End and the Isles of Scilly.

England diary of highlights

January began unsettled and mild, and windy at times, then there was a quieter and colder spell from the 6th to 12th with high pressure more dominant.  The rest of the month saw a return to an unsettled westerly type with fronts crossing the country at regular intervals, and it was generally mild, although central and northern parts saw colder conditions in the third week with snow for some parts.

The mean temperature for January was provisionally 1.0 °C above the 1981-2010 long-term average, and it was milder relative to normal in the south than in the north.  Rainfall was near or rather above average in most regions with 109% of average overall.  Most parts of the country had close to average sunshine, and England as a whole had 101% of average.

1st to 5th

Heavy rain on the 1st moved east along the English Channel and affected the south, with sunshine and scattered showers elsewhere, the showers most frequent in the north. Cloudy on the 2nd, with morning rain, heavy at times, clearing eastwards followed by isolated showers, before further rain moved into the west in advance of Storm Eleanor. It was very windy on the 3rd, gusts exceeding 75 mph across the south, with blustery showers in many places, heaviest over the north-west, and persistent rain reached the south-west in the evening.  The 4th was a wet day but the rain cleared from the south-west, and it was windy on eastern coasts. Central and southern parts were wet on the 5th, the north drier until showers arrived in the evening.

6th to 12th

The 6th started frosty in central parts, and showers affected most places, particularly the east, but these became confined to east-facing coasts by evening.  The 7th was cold but sunny after a frosty start, and isolated showers near the east coast died out in the afternoon.  The 8th started frosty and sunny from the Midlands northwards with a minimum of -7.9 °C at Redesdale (Northumberland), but cloudier conditions in the south spread to most parts later; staying cold.  The 9th was chilly and overcast with patchy drizzle, and heavy rain spread into the far south-west during the afternoon. Early patchy fog on the 10th, the south and west dry and mainly sunny, but cloudy elsewhere, with rain or drizzle in the east. The 11th was mainly cloudy with patchy fog, isolated showers in the north-east, and patchy rain/drizzle in the south-east, but dry and sunny in some western areas. The 12th was mainly cloudy and dry with mist and fog patches, and patchy rain/drizzle in southern central counties.

13th to 20th

The 13th was generally cloudy, with persistent rain for western parts. The 14th began with widespread frost and it was cloudy in central areas, sunny around the coasts; rain reached the north-west by evening. Most places had a mild wet morning on the 15th, but it turned much colder and showery later. It was generally cool and showery on the 16th, showers falling as rain in the south, but producing up to 10 cm of lying snow in places across Cumbria and Northumberland. It was sunny but cold in the south and east on the 17th, while there were wintry showers across the north-west and north Midlands, rain showers in the south-west. It turned very windy overnight into the 18th, gusts exceeding 80 mph in the east, with rain for most and snow for some northern parts where Copley (Northumberland) recorded 25 cm of lying snow; blustery wintry showers followed in northern and central areas with rain showers in the south and hail and thunder in the south-east later. The 19th was mainly dry and sunny, with scattered showers in the west, wintry especially over high ground in the north-west. The 20th was mainly cloudy; rain and drizzle, briefly wintry in northern and central regions, moved south-east and died out by dusk, while the north-east stayed mostly dry.

21st to 28th

The 21st started frosty away from the south, and wet for all regions with rain preceded by snow, clearing away from the north-west by late afternoon, and it turned significantly milder in the south.  It was bright and mild in the south and east on the 22nd after clearance of early rain, but cloudier and cooler in the north and west with some showery rain. The 23rd was very mild, with light rain on and off in places but persisting in the north where Kielder Castle (Northumberland) recorded 52.8 mm. Wet from the Midlands southwards on the 24th, the rain clearing away by evening, leaving blustery showers in places and winds gusted to 64 mph at times associated with Storm Georgina. The 25th was less windy with showers or longer spells of rain for northern and western parts, much drier and brighter in the east and south-east. Showers affected central southern parts early on the 26th, but these died out leaving a sunny day. Mild and wet on the 27th with rain moving eastwards during the day and clearing the south-east by early evening. Mild and breezy on the 28th with temperatures reaching 15.1 °C at Monks Wood (Cambridgeshire), dry and sunny in some central and eastern areas, but cloudy with patchy rain/drizzle in the north and south-west.

29th to 31st

The 29th began cloudy with occasionally heavy rain in the north, which moved south and died out, leaving drier, brighter and colder conditions, though the far south remained cloudy. Cloudy in the north and south-west on the 30th, with patchy rain and drizzle, elsewhere mainly dry and sunny. A band of rain cleared south during the morning of the 31st with cooler conditions and scattered showers following behind.

Wales diary of highlights

January was a predominantly changeable westerly-dominated month with fronts crossing the country at regular intervals, but it was colder and more settled between the 6th and 12th.  It was generally mild for most of the rest of the month but there was some snow, mainly over high ground, in the third week.

The mean temperature for the month was provisionally 0.7 °C above the long-term average.  Rainfall was mostly near normal but it was a rather wet month towards the south, with 120% of average overall.  Sunshine was 98% of average.

1st to 5th

Heavy and thundery showers moved east early on the 1st, followed by a bright interlude and then further scattered showers.  The 2nd started with heavy rain, which cleared for a time, before further heavy rain arrived during the afternoon in advance of Storm Eleanor. It was very windy on the 3rd, gusts exceeding 75 mph in the south, with showers especially in the north, but turned drier into the evening. The 4th was a bright showery day. Most places had a wet morning on the 5th, drying up everywhere later.

6th to 12th

The 6th started with patchy fog in places, clearing to leave sunshine and showers, but the showers died out by dusk.  The 7th was a sunny day following a cold start. The 8th started frosty, with a minimum of -6.3 °C at Hawarden (Clywd), and remained cold, with some sunshine in the north and west, but cloud spread to most areas. It was cool and overcast with patchy drizzle on the 9th and rain moved into the south-west by dusk. The 10th started with some fog patches, but was otherwise sunny and dry. It remained fine on the 11th, with some sunshine in the south and east but more cloud in the north and west. It was mainly dry and cloudy with mist and fog patches on the 12th, though with some brighter spells.

13th to 20th

The 13th began with a widespread frost and was generally cloudy, with persistent rain for western parts. The 14th also started frosty, and it was bright in the west, cloudy elsewhere, with rain reaching Anglesey by evening. It was mild and wet on the morning of the 15th, turning colder in the afternoon with wintry showers. Cold, breezy and showery on the 16th, showers falling mainly as rain at low levels but with sleet/snow on higher ground. Sunshine and wintry showers on the 17th, turning wet everywhere during the evening. It was very windy overnight into the 18th, with gusts exceeding 75 mph and one of 93 mph recorded at Capel Curig (Gwynedd), then a day of scattered blustery wintry showers, especially over higher ground, with brighter spells in the south and east. The 19th was mostly cloudy in the north and west, with scattered showers, these wintry over high ground; brighter and drier in the south and east. The 20th was mostly overcast; it started wet in the north with sleet/snow on high ground, the rain spreading south later but dying out by dusk.

21st to 28th

The 21st started with a widespread frost away from the south, followed by a very wet day with snow in many places giving 41 mm of rain at Gogerddan (Dyfed); drying up into the evening and turning significantly milder. The 22nd was cloudy with outbreaks of light rain, and temperatures widely exceeding 10 °C. It was cloudy, mild and breezy on the 23rd with patchy light rain in places.  The 24th had a wet morning for all, the rain clearing to leave sunshine and blustery showers for the afternoon as Storm Georgina swept through with winds gusting up to 75 mph in places. Sunshine and showers or longer spells of rain on the 25th, particularly during the afternoon, but it was less windy.  A few showers in the south early on the 26th died out, then it was dry and generally sunny. The 27th had a very wet morning, the rain heavy at times but clearing away in the afternoon. It was mainly cloudy, mild and breezy on the 28th, temperatures reaching 14.8 °C at Rhyl (Clwyd), with patchy rain/drizzle, especially in the south-west, but the north was drier with brighter spells. 

29th to 31st

The 29th started cloudy with occasionally heavy rain; becoming dry, brighter and colder in the afternoon. Mainly cloudy on the 30th, brightest in the south-east, with patchy rain and drizzle developing in the south and west later. The 31st was a day of sunshine and scattered showers and it turned cooler.

Scotland diary of highlights

January was a mostly changeable, mobile month with fronts crossing the country at regular intervals, but there was a settled and colder spell from the 6th to 12th.  The third week continued cold with widespread snow, but it was generally mild near the beginning of the month and after the 21st.

The mean temperature for January was provisionally 0.5 °C below the 1981-2010 long-term average.  Rainfall was 103% of average; many places had near-average rainfall, but the south-west was wetter and it was very dry in the north of Aberdeenshire.  Sunshine was 110% of average, and some parts of Aberdeenshire, Moray and Highland had a notably sunny month.

1st to 5th

There were scattered showers in northern and western areas on the 1st, with a band of showers also affecting the Central Belt for a time, but eastern parts were dry with some sunny intervals.  The 2nd was mainly cloudy, with heavy rain moving in from the west during the morning, preceded by sleet/snow on higher ground, clearing after midday followed by scattered showers. Frequent showers over the west on the 3rd, drier and brighter in the east. A band of persistent rain in the south on the 4th, generally dry and brighter but windy across the north.  The 5th was wet for central and northern parts, but much drier in the south.

6th to 12th

The 6th was cold and mostly cloudy, with wintry showers for the far north and south-east.  The 7th started with a widespread sharp frost, and remained cold and cloudy in the north and west but the south and east saw sunshine. The 8th started with another widespread frost, followed by a sunny day, though it was cloudier and less cold in the far north and west. Cloudy and cold on the 9th with patchy rain/drizzle in southern and central areas, sunnier in the north and west. Early fog patches on the 10th, then it was mainly cloudy, with patchy rain/drizzle in the east, drier elsewhere with sunny spells in the north-west. The 11th was sunny and mainly dry in the north, but otherwise cloudy, with early fog patches, and isolated rain/drizzle. Mainly cloudy and dry on the 12th, mist and fog patches with rain/drizzle affecting eastern coasts at first.

13th to 20th

The 13th was generally cloudy and windy, with persistent rain over western parts. The 14th started with a widespread sharp frost, then it was sunny in the east, cloudy elsewhere with rain spreading from the north-west to all areas by dusk with 82 mm of rain at Skye Alltdearg House. Cold and windy on the 15th, and showers over the west turned wintry by evening.  Cold and blustery on the 16th with frequent heavy, wintry showers, especially in the west, leaving lying snow up to 15 cm in many places and 28 cm was recorded at Eskdalemuir (Dumfries and Galloway). Widespread, frequent and heavy wintry showers on the 17th gave up to 20 cm of lying snow in many places and 40 cm in the Southern Uplands. Mainly cloudy on the 18th with scattered wintry showers in the south and west, drier and sunnier in the east and especially north-east. Mainly cloudy on the 19th, with frequent wintry showers over northern, western and central parts, drier and brighter weather in the north-east, and showers spreading into southern parts by dusk. It was mainly dry and bright on the 20th, with scattered wintry showers in the far north and north-east; fog patches in the south.

21st to 28th

The 21st had a severe and widespread frost with minimum temperatures of -13.7 °C at Kinbrace and Altnaharra (Sutherland), and snow spread from the south-west, affecting all parts by mid-afternoon, before turning to rain as milder air arrived from the west.  Most places had showers and longer spells of rain on the 22nd. The 23rd was wet and windy for all, but mild. The 24th was very wet and very windy, particularly in the north, thanks to Storm Georgina, with winds gusting to 85 mph over western parts.  The 25th had sunny spells especially in the east, but with frequent and slow-moving showers over central and western parts. Showers over the north and east died out early on the 26th, then it was mostly sunny ahead of rain arriving in the west during the evening. The morning of the 27th was wet and windy, the rain clearing eastwards quickly leaving frequent blustery showers and gusts in excess of 75 mph in places. The 28th began chilly with early sunshine in the north-east, but was otherwise mainly cloudy, mild and windy with a maximum temperature of 12.9 °C at Dunbar (East Lothian), but patchy rain/drizzle became more widespread and heavy later.

29th to 31st

The 29th had sunshine and scattered showers, the showers mainly in the west, and it turned significantly cooler.  It was mainly cloudy on the 30th, with heavy rain in the north and west moving slowly south-east; the east and south remained mostly dry, and the north-east was brighter. A colder day than of late on the 31st with scattered wintry showers.

Northern Ireland diary of highlights

January was a mostly changeable month with westerly winds and fronts crossing the country at regular intervals, but it was more settled and fairly cold between the 6th and 12th.  The third week was also cold, with snow for most parts, but it was mild near the beginning and after the 21st.

The mean temperature for January was provisionally 0.3 °C below the long-term average.  Most parts had a wet month with 147% of average rainfall overall, provisionally the ninth wettest January in a series since 1910.  Sunshine was above average in the east but below in the west, with 104% of average overall.

1st to 5th

The 1st was mainly cloudy, and showers in the west spread to most areas but became lighter and less frequent.  Scattered showers to start on the 2nd, before heavy rain moved in from the south-west during the afternoon in advance of Storm Eleanor with gusts to 90 mph at Orlock Head (County Down).  The 3rd was cold and windy with frequent and occasionally heavy blustery showers.  A wet morning on the 4th was followed by sunshine and showers in the afternoon.  The 5th was a bright day, but showers developed during the afternoon.

6th to 12th

The 6th was a sunny day with just a few isolated showers.  The 7th started with a widespread sharp frost with a minimum temperature of -6.8 °C at Katesbridge (County Down), and a sunny day followed. The 8th was another cold sunny day following an overnight frost.  It was overcast and cold on the 9th with patchy drizzle, and heavy rain spread from the south-west towards dusk.  It was mainly cloudy and foggy on the 10th, with some rain/drizzle at first in the west and some brightness in the north. The 11th started with patchy fog, and was mainly dry and cloudy but with some brightness in the north and east.  It was mainly cloudy and dry on the 12th, before rain, occasionally heavy, spread eastwards later.

13th to 20th

The 13th was a wet day, turning a little drier in the evening.  The 14th started frosty, and was cloudy, turning wet everywhere during the afternoon.  Colder with sunshine and showers on the 15th, the showers turning wintry into the evening. Widespread, frequent and heavy wintry showers on the 16th, with up to 17 cm of lying snow in places.  The 17th had sunshine and frequent heavy wintry showers with Trassey Slievenaman (County Down) recording 30 cm of lying snow, before turning milder and very wet everywhere towards evening. It was cloudy on the 18th, with frequent, occasionally wintry, showers tending to die out during the afternoon. Mainly cloudy and breezy on the 19th, with frequent wintry showers, these mostly dying out by dusk. The 20th began wet, with sleet/snow over higher ground, but the afternoon was mostly bright and dry.

21st to 31st

The 21st had a cold wet morning with snow for some and 36.8 mm of rain at Killylane (County Antrim), drying up in the afternoon and turning significantly milder.  Cloudy with outbreaks of light rain on the 22nd, with temperatures widely exceeding 10 °C.  It was mild and breezy on the 23rd with sunshine and showers.  There was a mix of sunshine and blustery showers on the 24th as Storm Georgina made an appearance with winds gusting up to 65 mph.  Less windy but still cloudy with showers or longer spells of rain on the 25th.  Dry and bright on the 26th, cloud increasing in the afternoon ahead of rain arriving in the evening.  Cloudy and mild on the 27th with scattered outbreaks of rain, and breezy with gusts reaching 50 mph in places. It continued cloudy, mild and breezy on the 28th, patchy rain/drizzle tending to die out during the afternoon, and the temperature reached 13.5 °C at Murlough (County Down).  The 29th was bright with isolated showers and it turned significantly colder. The 30th was cloudy and mainly dry, patchy rain developing late afternoon.  Sunshine and frequent showers on the 31st, the showers turning wintry during the day.

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