The Malta Independent 2 March 2021, Tuesday

January’s maximum temperature sets new record; arctic air to drop temperature in coming days

Friday, 12 February 2021, 14:42 Last update: about 18 days ago

The highest temperature on record for the month of January was recorded on the 9th day of the month, with a temperature of 25.8°C, as the month was drier and warmer than average.

In a weather update, the Malta International Airport said that the highest air temperature was recorded nine days into January, when the mercury hit 25.8°C.

Having surpassed the previous record high for the month by 3°C, this maximum air temperature became the new highest temperature for January on the Maltese islands since 1923.

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January’s hottest day was followed by an overcast Sunday, which was marked by a complete absence of sunshine. However, having gone over the sunshine quota for January by almost 14 hours, a total of 176.3 sunshine hours measured during the month certainly made up for this bleak day. Additionally, the cloud cover for January averaged at 4.2 oktas rather than the climate norm of 4.4 oktas.

Overnight thunderstorms and 14.2 mm of precipitation measured on the second day in January made for a wet and stormy start to 2021. The year may have started with a splash, but January’s total precipitation - which amounted to 70.4 mm - did not measure up to the quota of 92.9 mm of rainfall.

Apart from being drier than the climate norm, the month was also warmer than expected at this time of year. Averaging at 14.1°C, the air temperature for the month surpassed the climate norm by 1.4°C, while the mean sea surface temperature exceeded the norm of 15.8°C by 1.3°C.

The month’s wind speed averaged at 10.8 knots, with a maximum gust of 44 knots blowing from a westerly direction making the 17th of January a particularly blustery day. The day also yielded the month’s lowest air temperature of 5.9°C, which was reached again on the 20th of January.

Temperatures to drop this weekend as artic air mass arrives in Malta

A bout of wintry weather is expected over the coming days as a cold Arctic air mass intensifies and extends towards most of Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean and Libya, covering our region until, at least, the middle of next week.

This reflects the forecast by the Met office earlier today.

Saturday is forecast to be partly cloudy in the morning, becoming rather cloudy with isolated showers. Rather strong to strong (F5-6) westerly winds are expected to pick up speed during the day to reach Force 6-7 and change direction by evening. This shift to a northwesterly direction is expected to lead to a considerable drop in temperature overnight.

A partly cloudy Sunday, in fact, is set to give us proper chills with the actual temperature forecast to range between a low of 4°C to 5°C and a high of 12°C, and a real feel temperature of 9°C during the day and around 0°C during the night.

These low temperatures are expected to persist into the coming week, with very cold northerly winds set to blow until Wednesday, keeping air temperatures for the first three days of the week in the range of 4°C and 12°C.

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