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January was the driest in the last decade

More than 169 hours of sunshine were recorded

A balmy January started off 2018 with pleasantly warm temperatures and more than six hours of sunshine over the climate norm. The month was the driest January the Maltese islands have experienced in the last decade.

Air temperatures ranged between a maximum of 19.2°C and a minimum of 7°C. At 16.9°C, the mean maximum temperature exceeded the climate norm by 1.3°C, while the mean minimum temperature was a considerable 1.6°C higher than the expected 9.9°C.

The Meteorological Office at Malta International Airport said the sea was warmer too, maintaining a mean surface temperature of 16.5°C rather than the climate norm of 15.8°C.

These warmer-than-average temperatures were accompanied by 169.1 hours of sunshine and a mean cloud cover of 4 oktas, ensuring that the islands lived up to their sunny reputation even in the middle of winter.

The sun did not make an appearance on January 15, but it did not go missing for long as two days later it shone for the month’s maximum of 9.3 hours. This was more than the total sunshine hours enjoyed by certain French cities in the first half of January.

While sunshine was not in short supply, precipitation was a different matter. Totalling just 13.3mm, January’s total rainfall came nowhere near close to the 92.9mm expected at this time of year.

Almost half of January’s total rainfall – 6.4mm – was measured on the 12th day. This day also accounted for January’s only hail occurrence.

January was also windier than usual, maintaining a mean speed of 11.1 knots rather than the expected 9.2 knots. The maximum gust recorded blew at 47 knots from a north-westerly direction on the second day of the month.

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