Dry January

January 2019 has been a very dry month for much of the UK with many places seeing less than half the expected rainfall.

The average temperatures for the month as a whole were close to normal, although the average figures disguise some extremes. The first half of January was relatively mild, interspersed with short cold snaps, while in contrast the second half of the month was relatively cold, interspersed with short mild spells. The end of the month saw a cold spell that brought widespread ice and snow. The coldest January night for 7 years was recorded on the 31st Jan with -14.3C in Braemar in Scotland, while the warmest day-time temperature was recorded at Slapton in Devon which reached 14.2C on 25th Jan.

Rainfall was well below average for the month as a whole with parts of Scotland see only around 15% of the average January rainfall.

It was the driest January on record (in series from 1910) for Clackmannanshire with 23.1mm of rain (15% of the expected average), East Lothian with 9.9 mm of rain (15% of the expected average) and Fife 12.1 mm (15% of the expected average). Meanwhile the wettest place in January was Achnagart, Highlands where 318 mm were recorded (74% of average).

The climate region of East and North East England had just 22.9mm of rainfall, its second driest January on record (dating back to 1910).  Only January 1997 was drier with just 15 mm of rain recorded.

The best of the sunshine was in northern England and Scotland with Scotland having its tenth sunniest January on record (dating back to 1929) with 42.8 hours of sunshine. Northern Ireland (33.6 hours 24% below average), Wales (36.1 hours 26% below average) and the far South West (42.5 hours 21% below average) were dull. Camborne, Cornwall had its dullest January on record (dating back 58 years) with just 28 hours, while the sunniest place was Morpeth, Northumberland with 86 hours (48% above the expected average).