January 2003 – a two-faced month
January takes its name from Janus, the Roman god of doorways and bridges, because the month looks back at the old year and forward to the new. January 2003 was two-faced in a less complimentary way as it was characterised by exceptional contrasts between bursts of wintry and summery weather. This was especially true of the last week.
temperature last month ranged from 4.0ºC at Aviemore
in the Scottish highlands to 9.6ºC at Pendennis Point
some severe frosts during the early cold snap especially in
several very mild days during the middle and latter parts of the month, but the
surge of warm air on the 26th and 27th was quite exceptional. The high of 18.3ºC
at Aboyne in Aberdeenshire last Sunday equalled the
all-time UK record for January which was established at Aber
in north Wales in 1958 and repeated at the same location in 1971. It also set a
new January record for
month, taking the country as a whole, totalled 82.5mm which is eight per cent
below the long-term average. There were 31 drier Januarys and 69 wetter during
the last 100 years. Parts of
sunshine, averaged nationally, was 74 hours which is 42 per cent above average.
© Philip Eden