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Windy and mild - that was January

PUBLISHED: 02:30 13 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:19 03 March 2010

STAR weatherman Ken Blowers looks back at a mild and windy January with rainfall below average in many places.



IN Suffolk January was a mild and windy month with temperatures often twice the average for mid-winter.

STAR weatherman Ken Blowers looks back at a mild and windy January with rainfall below average in many places.

IN Suffolk January was a mild and windy month with temperatures often twice the average for mid-winter.

In the first week an anticyclone centred over the Continent gave sunny and cold weather with fresh south easterly winds.

Frost was notably severe in the early hours of January 2 and many places had the coldest night for nine years.

At the Star weather station in Ipswich the air temperature fell to 16F(minus 9C) and at ground level the thermometer registered 12F(minus 11C).

This was the lowest on record since January 3 1993 when 14F(minus 10C) was

logged.

Light winds were a major feature from January 5 to January 10 and at times it was calm.

Dull and drab days followed with a spell of unusual daytime darkness.

A marked change in the weather took place on January 13 with a south westerly airflow spreading to the whole of Britain.

The rest of the month was unsettled and a series of deep and active Atlantic depressions with their associated fronts gave windy and occasionally wet conditions.

In most places the temperatures remained above average on every day with the highest of 56F(13C) recorded on January 30.

The all-time record for January warmth was 58F(14C) in 1974.

At the Star weather station there was no excessive rainfall and January ranked as the second successive month with rainfall below the long-term average.

In Ipswich the total was only 1.80 inches (45.7 mm) and at Wattisham Airfield 1.71 inches (43.6 mm) was recorded.

At Broom's Barn, Higham there was even less rain with a total of only 1.42 inches (36.3 mm).

Measurable rain fell on 15 days and in most districts the wettest day was January 26 with a third of an inch.

In mid-winter strong winds are usually associated with a mobile westerly weather pattern from the Atlantic and last month was no exception.

South westerly winds often reached gale force and a gust of 60 miles per hour was recorded on the coast on January 28.

The north of Britain bore the brunt of this intense storm and seven people were killed and many high-sided lorries overturned.

A high-level automatic weather station in the Caingorms recorded a gust of 141 miles per hour. Hurricane force is 75 miles per hour.

There were only two cloudless days in January and totals of bright sunshine were slightly below average for the month.

At Wattisham Airfield 50.4 hours were recorded and at Higham the total was 61.2 hours.

With global warming in progress, records taken over the past 25 years show that in January East Anglia saw only three years with deep and lasting snowfall. They were 1982, 1985 and 1987. In the remaining 23 years snowfall in January was restricted to a few odd days and the snow melted within 72 hours.

Prolonged severe winters in East Anglia are even more rare and the only three in this classification were in 1940, 1947 and 1963.

In 1963 the cold weather in Suffolk lasted for 75 days and January temperatures in Ipswich fell to 5F(minus 15C) – the lowest on record during the last 100 years.

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