Last month was the third sunniest January recorded in the UK

England had its second sunniest January on record, with only 2022 ranking higher

The Blyth Beach Huts in Northumberland, England. PA
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Many areas of the UK had more than 50 per cent more hours of sunshine than usual as the country enjoyed its third sunniest January on record last month, the Meteorological Office said.

Despite the sunshine, overall temperature and rain remained close to long-term levels, with a cold snap in the middle of the month offset by milder weather at the start of the year.

Last month an average of 63.1 hours of sunshine were recorded across the UK, making it the third sunniest January after 1959 (69.7 hours) and 2001 (66.5 hours).

England had its second sunniest January on record, with only 2022 ranking higher.

By contrast, western and northern areas of Scotland had the least sunshine, with the Western Isles having a fairly dull month.

“One notable feature of January’s weather was the sunshine, with plenty of clear spells of weather, though not enough to trouble any national records," said Dr Mark McCarthy, manager of the Met Office National Climate Information Centre.

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“The far north-west might feel a little short-changed with sunshine duration, as well as western areas of Northern Ireland, thanks to some more persistent cloud and rain moving in off the Atlantic in January.”

Met Office records for sunshine begin in 1919.

The mean UK temperature for January was 4.4ºC, just 0.4ºC above the long-term average.

Rainfall was also close to normal for the time of year, with 125.7mm falling, 3 per cent more than average.

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“After a record-breaking 2022 for heat in the UK, January has started this year with a near-average month for temperature, which masks a period of cold weather in the middle of the month, as well as some mild weather at the start of the year,” Dr McCarthy said.

“The month’s weather has largely been flipping from westerlies with milder air and rain to influxes of northerly air with cold and dry weather, which is not unusual for a UK winter.

“What this results in is fairly typical January temperature and rainfall statistics when averaged across the whole month.”

Updated: February 01, 2023, 10:22 PM