The Malta Independent 21 January 2021, Thursday

Warm weekend leads to record high temperature for month of January

Wednesday, 13 January 2021, 10:12 Last update: about 7 days ago

Having peaked at 25.8 degrees celsius, the maximum air temperature for Saturday 9 January went down on the Meteorological Office’s records as the highest temperature reached in the first month of the year since 1923.

In a statement, the Malta International Airport said that Saturday’s maximum air temperature was, in fact, significantly higher than the 30-year climate norm for the month of January, which stands at 15.6 degrees celsius.

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This warm trend persisted into Sunday, with the minimum air temperature for the day reaching the 19.4 degrees celsius mark in the early hours of the morning, going on to set a new highest minimum temperature record for the month of January.

A south-westerly wind from the Sahara Desert contributed to Saturday’s warm air temperature. This was sustained on the following day largely due to the presence of a dense and multi-layered cloud cover, which trapped the heat overnight, the MIA explained.

Mid-level clouds, which served to reflect sunlight from the setting sun, can be partly credited for the spectacular sunset the Maltese islands experienced on Saturday afternoon as hues of red and pink lit up the sky.

Prior to last Saturday, the record for the highest air temperature for the first month of the year was held by 29 January 1939, when the mercury hit the 22.8 degrees celsius mark. Back then, clear skies led to this high temperature being short-lived, with meteorological records showing that on the morrow a mild minimum temperature of 13.9 degrees celsius was recorded in the morning.

What will the weather be like over the next days?

Unstable air masses surrounding the Maltese islands, particularly on the Adriatic Sea, together with a low-pressure system over Scandinavia are resulting in troughs from the northwest and leading to unstable weather conditions for Malta.

This will lead to colder days, with the air temperature expected to reach highs of 15 degrees celsius - with this high going on to drop to 13 degrees celsius on Saturday - and register lows that range between 7 degrees celsius and 11 degrees celsius.

Today and tomorrow are expected to be windswept days, characterised by force 5 to 6 north-westerly winds which may, at times, reach force 6-7 and be accompanied by showers.

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