January thunders in with cooler temperatures & stronger winds
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A look at January’s weather shows that the month was cooler, drier and windier than usual. The Met Office said that six thunderstorms, one of which was accompanied by hail, punctuated the month. This is double the thunder occurrences expected at this time of the year.
Malta wasn’t spared from the cold snap that gripped Europe in January, with the month starting off with some very chilly air temperatures that dipped to a minimum of 4.2°C on three occasions by the 16th. The grass minimum temperature – which is measured on short turf with a thermometer touching the tips of grass blades - was even lower, reaching 0.8°C on the first day of January.
As the month progressed, temperatures gradually got higher, hitting a maximum of 16.8°C on the 21st and the 22nd of January. At 11.5°C, January’s mean air temperature was 1.2°C lower than expected for the first month of the year.
On the other hand, the mean sea surface temperature was 0.4°C higher than the climatic average of 15.8°C, but possibly still too cold for a dip even for the most daring.
Despite registering January’s warmest temperature, the 22nd was the dullest day of the month, with the sun making an appearance for a fleeting 0.3 hours. Two days later, the sun shone for a full 9.2 hours, making the 24th the brightest day in a month that was otherwise gloomier than expected. This partly stemmed from the fact that a slightly heavier cloud cover of 4.7 oktas made the month more overcast.
With just 71.7 mm of rainfall registered, the month was drier than expected. The last Sunday of the month was the wettest day in January, accounting for almost half of the total rainfall recorded – 31.0mm – and one thunder occurrence.
January was also windswept, with gusts blowing at a mean of 10.2 knots rather than the expected 9.2 knots. The strongest gust was recorded on the 5th of the month at 45 knots.
Photograph by Alain Salvary