Sunny January, but cold continues

Published: Sunday 1st February 2015 by The News Editor

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Freezing temperatures are expected to carry over into this week as a hangover from a dry January that was the sunniest in more than 10 years.

The Met Office has issued cold weather warnings for most of the UK for the first week of February as figures showed the month just passed was the coldest only since 2013.

And forecaster MeteoGroup said January sunshine in England and Wales averaged 75 hours, making it the sunniest since 2003, with only three Januarys in the last 100 years seeing more rays.

Scotland, in contrast, had average hours of sunshine for the first month of the year at 46 while Northern Ireland totalled 50 hours, just above average.

While the end of the month brought “thundersnow”, icy roads and widespread travel disruption, forecasters said there was a notably mild spell between January 5 and 14, before turning colder in the third week and over the last few days. The lowest average minimum temperature was recorded as minus 8.3C in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire.

Rainfall in England and Wales across the month was at its lowest since 2013 at 95mm, although Scotland was significantly wetter than usual, as 162mm of rain fell – 167% of the average.

Looking ahead most areas of the UK will be dry but windy, meaning conditions will feel colder.

George Goodfellow, a forecaster at MeteoGroup, said: “Temperatures are looking widely low single figures, with really strong northwesterly winds making wind chill a factor. There will be some quite cold nights with sub-zero temperatures.

“We are expecting a lot of places could be dry but there may be some showers on the east coast and the north, which could get icy.”

Met Office amber warnings are in place across much of northern England with more snow and cold weather predicted until Thursday and gusts of up to 60 and 70mph in some places. Heavy snow was expected to settle in highland areas of northern Scotland by as much as 25cm (10in).

The alert read: “Colder conditions will arrive from the north during this coming weekend. The cold accentuated by strong winds at times. Snow showers will affect a number of areas through this period. More sheltered southern areas of England will see fewer showers.

“Overnight frosts will give icy stretches on untreated surfaces, with the possibility of widespread ice. Less cold conditions might develop later next week.”

It warned the public to take care on the roads during the period.

Published: Sunday 1st February 2015 by The News Editor

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