Monthly Summary - January 2010

   Meteorologically Winter is defined as the whole months of December, January and Februaury and wilst December saw winter arrive, in January it took hold and never really let us out of its grip.

   Following on from November's drenching, December's cold and now January's very cold month, we really have had three successive 'Months of note'. Weather watchers everywhere, from the casual, to the amateur through to the professional, may wax lyrical about January just gone.

   In December I stated 'just looking at the figures is enough to make you feel cold', well if that was the case, January had us feeling frozen; the figures being:

   The Met' office report January as been the coldest over the Uk since 1987 and the joint 8th coldest since 1914.

   ** A mean temperature of just 0.35°c (32.6°f) - by far a new record for this site and indeed at many other sites in Cumbria.

   ** 19 days (actually one less than December) recorded a minimum temperature of <0.0°c ie: below freezing

   ** There were five 'ice days' (a day on which the temperature remains below freezing) - there was only one in the whole of 2009.

   ** Three of those ice days (7-9th) fell on successive days.

   ** The lowest temperature during the month was -12.4°c (9.68°F) on the 8th - a record for this site.

   ** The record for the lowest temp' was beaten three times, intially on the 4th (-10.4°c), then on the 7th (-11.8°c) and then finally the (8th).

   ** The mean temp' for the first ten days of the month was just -3.85°c.

   ** Snow was on the ground from the 1st - 15th, which continuing on from December made 29 successive days.

   ** snow fell On 9 days (sleet on another two) and had a highest level depth of 14 1/2 cms (5.7 inch) on the 9th following an overnight fall.

   ** Ground Frost - reached a record low of -18.2°c (-0.76°F) on the 8th. Also, Ground Frost was recorded on every day of the month!!

   ** A minimum temp of <=10.0°c was recorded on 4 days.

   So it was cold, but it was also dry, with only 36.6mm (1.44 inch) of precipitation recorded, although this fell on 19 days, but obviously only in small amounts. Compared to the January's of 2008 and 2009, which were both very wet, 226.2mm coincidentally fell in each month, January 2010 could not have been any different.

   The first ten days of the month were mainly sunny, especially the 'ice days' of 7-9th, but from the 15th onwards as the weather changed it became cloudier and grey, apart from the last three days of the month when the sun returned.

   The month started with a large area of high pressure near Greenland which provided the UK with its own ridge of high pressure that brought a cold N-NE airflow.

   On the 4th it really turned cold, at Midday it was still -6.0°c - as the northerly airflow fed fronts over the UK which originated from the Arctic.

   The 5-6th warmed up slightly with a high temp' of 0.8°c on the 6th, but as with the Max' of 0.0°c on the 5th, which only lasted for 5 minutes before dropping back below zero, the vast majority of these days were still below freezing.

   The 7th saw the record low temperature broken both in the morning and then again in the evening. At Midday it was still -6.0°c, warming up to    -2.2°c, but at 5:45 p.m. it fell below -10.0°c. The temperature remained reasonably static overnight, actually warming up a little, but on the morning of the 8th, it dipped and did so quickly, dropping to that -12.4°c. At Midday on the 8th it was still -7.7°c!!

   Through the 7-9th we were under a large area of high pressure that extended from Northern Ireland to Scandanavia, certainly an uncommon aspect of recent January's when our weather is normally dominated by wet westerly airflows.

   The daily mean temperature for the 7th was -9.0°c and for the 8th it was even colder at -9.2°c (15.44°F).

   After more snow on the 13-14th with a high pressure to the East and low pressure to the West, a SE airstream brought cold winds and further snow, but come the 15th it turned mild and quickly melted the remaining snow. Then frontal systems moving east gave us a reminder of those past Januarys and the 16th with 16.2mm of rain was the months wettest day.

   We then went to grey cloudy days with neither high nor low pressure truly dominating. Even come the 27th when high pressure sat over the UK, it maintained a westerly airflow and the months max' temp of 8.9°c came on that day.

   Finally the last three days of the month saw the sun return as the UK lay between a high pressure over the Atlantic and low pressure to the East. However, this brought a brisk and cold northerly flow and the temperature dropped back and a return to night-time air frosts.

   The Mean Max' for the month was 2.97°c and the mean Min' -2.27°c.


   * January 10 rainfall was just 16.2% of the average for 08-09

   * January 10 was 2.82°c colder than 2009 +

   * January saw 12 dry days

     + Met office figures for January show it as the coldest since 1987 - that NW England/N. Wales had a mean temp' of 0.9°c, some 2.6°c colder than the reference period 1971-2000