The start to February brought cooler temperatures due to the brisk wind that had veered into the north west. The wind, gusting to 22mph, produced wind chill that meant the temperature being 6C at times felt more like 4C. Although we had 4.45 hours off sunshine the wind from this cooler and drier direction meant a maximum 6.7C, being just below average for February.
Overnight the thermometer slipped downwards to a minimum of 1.4C at 05.17 but recovered to 3.1C at 08.00 as broken cloud drifted in.
Warmest January for six years
January gave us the warmest start to a year since 2012 with the mean temperature 1.1C above the 34-year average. At the beginning and end of the month, temperatures rose into double figures with a peak of 12.9C on the 23rd also 23 days of above average maxima. The 34-year average maximum is 6.7C.
As regards the night-time, there were only 6 nights with an air frost, down to -3.3C on the morning of the 30th and 21 nights with minima above the average.
The reason for the mild month was the Jet Stream conveyor belt bringing regular depressions across the country producing wet days and often high winds. Thus during the month the predominant winds were between south and west, 23 days in total and only two days between the cold north and east.
There were 17 days with wind gusts in excess of 20mph and on the 2nd a peak gust of 40mph was recorded.
The rainfall amounted to 79.6mm, which was 12.6mm below the 33-year average and made it the driest January since 2012. Interestingly, this was just 0.1mm below the rainfall for January 2017.
There were only 10 dry days in the month. The wettest days occurred on the 21st and 2nd with 17.3mm and 14.7mm respectively. In total we endured 17 wet days, the average is 14, classed as daily rainfall equal or greater than 1mm, although many did not produce any great quantity of rainfall.
The diurnal temperatures log the difference between day and night. Since 1984, when this station started, the minimum variation has remained steady at around 1C. However, the maximum variation shows quite a different picture with an upward trend over the past 34-years from around 11C in the 1980s and 1990s to 13C over recent years with 2015 and 2016 giving a maximum variation of 15.9C and 15.6C.
During the month we enjoyed 53.2 hours of strong sunshine with the sunniest occurring on the 30th with a daily total 6.49 hours. Not surprisingly, the UV level on that day was the highest since 16th November.
Wet snow was observed on the 21st and soft hail on the 16th.
An old proverb states that: “Winter either bites with its teeth or lashes with its tail”. I think January 2018 fell into the latter category.