January 2023 Weather in Durham – Mild and on the dry side

January banner : snowman and snow crystal

The first half of January 2023 saw temperatures well above average, with 5 days exceeding the 10 degC mark. The warmest day was the 4th, reaching 11.5 degC.

The 10th and 11th were wet, yielding 16.2mm of rain. The 11th turned out to be the wettest day of the month, with 11mm of rain recorded. Rain fell on 23 days, but the monthly total of 42.4mm was below average for January.

Snow fell on the morning of 16th January 2023, and a cold spell set in from 15th-22nd. Extensive frost and some light snow showers, although no significant accumulations.

The papers got hold of the threat of snow and put their usual snowmageddon spin on things. In reality a week of typical winter weather was all that was being forecast, despite the usual sensationalism of people like Exacta/Madden.

There were some moderate snow accumulations on the high ground in the west and north, as well as Wales and Northern Ireland.

There were 4 ‘Freezing Days’ during the cold spell on 16th, 17th, 21st and 22nd, but no ‘Ice Days’.

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From Trevor Harley

January 2023.

The month of January 2023 had a very mild and wet first half, colder and drier second half, resulting in close to average temperatures overall nearly everywhere.

It was particularly cold in parts of Scotland midmonth. The highest temperature of the month was 15.8 degC at Dyce (Aberdeenshire) on the 24th, and the lowest -10.4 degC at Drumnadrochit on the 19th.

Overall rainfall was about average at 103% of the long-term average across the UK, although much of the rain fell in the first couple of weeks. It was wetter in the west, and drier in the northeast. 100.2 mm of rain fell at Maerdy Water Works (Mid-Glamorgan) on the observing day 11-12th.

It was a very sunny month, being the second sunniest for England (just behind the exceptionally sunny January of 2022) and third sunniest for the UK overall (also behind January 1919), at 133%, but it was quite dull in NW Scotland. The deepest snow depth was 34 cm at Loch Glascarnoch on the 18th.

There was a marked absence of very windy days, with no named storm.


Tales of The Riverbank in Durham (and more)

Christmas Tree and Architecture in Durham Cathedral

We managed to haul ourselves out of the house today – 12th December 2022. It was bleak, about -1 degC and there had been another dusting overnight.

Starting in town, we headed south, passing the Fulling Mill and the Wear, and then over Prebends Bridge to the Cathedral.

Durham Cathedral in the mist
Durham Cathedral looms in the mist

The walk took us past the huge monolithic bulk of Durham Cathedral on the Peninsula on the other side of the river. The towers were just scraping the cloud. Our fingers had already started turning numb by then, and taking gloves off became a pain, but needs must.

Looking toward The Fulling Mill in the snow
Looking toward The Fulling Mill in the snow

The Fulling Mill was wearing it’s ‘snow hat’, the conditions being that little melting was happening. Little melting was happening in my soul either. The situation was beautifully bleak.

Snow covered log floating in the river
Snow covered log floating in the river

Even the logs floating in the river had a layer of snow, with just the signs of the birds feet in the snow, leaving evidence that wildlife still thrives in the river when the weather turns bleak. I have seen Cormorants here, Otters swimming and even the odd Kingfisher adding a flash of colour.

The weir, boathouses and Prebends Bridge in the snow
The weir, boathouses and Prebends Bridge in the snow

The boat houses and the weir looked very wintry indeed, with the usual pile of trees behind the weir to the right of the photograph. It’s a continual struggle on behalf of the Council to keep the river clear, with each spell of heavy rain bringing more flotsam and jetsam down into the city. There are three main areas it collects: (1) here, (2) on the main weir and fish ladder just up from Millburngate Bridge, and (3) on the piers in front of the ancient Elvet Bridge.

Video of the weir at the Mill

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Looking back to the weir, with the Durham Cathedral in the mist
Looking back to the weir, with the Fulling Mill and Durham Cathedral in the mist

Here, looking back slightly, we can see how the Cathedral towers have started to vanish into the mist as the distance increases. The top of the central tower is almost completely gone, almost a ‘Stairway to Heaven’.

The Christmas tree inside Durham Cathedral
The Christmas tree inside Durham Cathedral

It was a welcome respite when we crossed the river via Prebends Bridge and walked into the South Bailey, around the back of the Cathedral (a very pretty and tranquil place) and inside the main building. The huge Christmas tree dominated and donated presents could be seen under it. All very festive in the run up to the big day. A chance to thaw out a little, and contemplate things.

The DLI Memorial Chapel inside Durham Cathedral
The DLI Memorial Chapel inside Durham Cathedral

I always like to pop around the corner and pay my respects at the DLI Chapel. The wreathes were all still there from the previous months Remembrance Day. The ancient regimental colours protect the wooden cross and offerings below.

Plant growing on the wall on Palace Green with Durham Castle in the background
Plant growing on the wall on Palace Green with Durham Castle in the background

Lastly, a shot from Palace Green. Looking up towards Durham Castle, I spotted this growing out of the wall, rooted in the joint crack between the cap stones. Perhaps a learned reader might be able to advise what it is? I’m no gardener, so any help would be appreciated here.

Netatmo Weather Station – This is what I use at Durham Weather

The NetAtmo Weather Station Ensemble

NetAtmo Weather Station – My Weather Station of Choice for Durham Weather

I’ve been using the stylish NetAtmo Weather Station for about 2 years now so I’ve given it a good test. Within that time, i’ve had a few teething problems, but these are almost inevitable with Weather Stations and the more different types you use, the more you realise they all have their own quirks. The NetAtmo Weather Station is no different.

Setting up the NetAtmo Weather Staion is quite easy though as it’s all done through the NetAtmo mobile app, which then connects all of the modules wirelessly to your wifi network. The base station is mains powered, whilst the external sensors are all powered by AA batteries. The batteries last for a long time, powering the kit for 1-2 years without needing a change.

I did actually have a faulty external unit when I first bought the NetAtmo Weather Station, it was chewing through battery sets every 3-4 days (clearly nor right!), but NetAtmo replaced the unit quickly under warranty within a few days.

The NetAtmo Weather Station Ensemble
The NetAtmo Weather Station Ensemble. From L to R – Netatmo Anemometer, NetAtmo Outdoor Module, NetAtmo Raingauge and Netatmo Indoor Base Station.

My current is the NetAtmo Weather Station

The Netatmo Weather station comes very well packaged, direct from France (you can also get it from Amazon). Unpacking it reveals two sleek aluminium tubes – the larger one being the base station sensor that sits indoors, and a second smaller tube that’s designed to sit outside.

The NetAtmo Weather Station Documentation is minimal, but points you to downloading an app to your phone to facilitate the installation.

The first thing to do is get the NetAtmo Weather Station base station talking to your wifi. The base station is mains powered and once that is plugged in the app leads you through the configuration of adding the second sensor. Pretty easy stuff.

Next thing is siting the two items. I chose to sit the base station in the corner of the living room, behind the TV. The base station monitors indoor temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, ambient noise and carbon dioxide (air quality).

Next, the outside sensor. This measures outside temperature and humidity. It also allows Dew Point to be derived mathematically.

The small external NetAtmo sensor runs from two AA batteries which need to be installed when pairing with the base station. It comes with a mounting strap with velcro attachment, designed to secure it around a drainpipe or post.

It also comes with a slot at the back of the aluminium casing by which you can attach it to a wall with a screw. This was my chosen route and I put it on the north facing wall of my shed (the only place in the garden not to receive direct sunlight).

I had read online that the sensor needed sheltering from direct rain, as it would mean the humidity readings would stay high until the sensor dried out.

For that reason I installed a little pelmet above it, made from PVC tongue and groove cladding, to protect it from the rain. This seems to work very well.

Here’s a superb video, showing all the standard NetAtmo Weather Station modules and setup.

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Extra purchase was the NetAtmo Rain Gauge

Rain Gauge for Netatmo Weather Station

I also purchased the Netatmo rain gauge, but unfortunately forget to get a mounting bracket (sold separately) so I couldn’t set this up straight away.

The NetAtmo rain gauge is very sleek and has a broad, transparent plastic funnel top and a black cylinder below housing the tipping bucket rain detector.

Each tip is calibrated at 0.1mm of rain, so it’s quite high resolution. There’s a screw hole in the base for attachment to the bracket, which I secured to a fence post with three screws.

It’s important that the top of the rain gauge is perfectly level to make sure the ‘tip’ works properly, so I set it up with a spirit level to make sure. There is also an ingenious Netatmo anemometer if you have a suitable site for mounting and correct exposure.

As can be seen, the data on the station can be shown via a Widget (actually from a 3rd party Netatmo site) and Netatmo also operate their own Network where other station owner’s data can be seen on a map.

This is useful for local comparisons and it’s easy to see when a station is incorrectly sited. I can see a couple of local stations where the temperature is wildly high, so it’s important.

The third party sites can also enable much more extensive analysis than the Netatmo one and it’s possible to set up a weather station page to display current readings

Verdict on the NetAtmo Weather Station

The NetAtmo weather station is a capable device for amateur weather observers and provides accurate data, and being wireless it can be installed discretely without much fuss.

The phone app from NetAtmo is basic, but there are numerous other third-party ones that offer better visualisation of the data. I’m currently using Myatmo and Smartmixin.

Setup is easy using a smartphone such as an iPhone or Samsung device. It looks good, and could very easily fit in with modern decor in the living room or study and wouldn’t look out of place at all. It’s smooth lines allow it to blend with any modern furniture.

Buy a NetAtmo Weather Station From : Our Weather Store

Wild Weather with Richard Hammond

While I was poking about on YouTube looking for Jack Scott videos, I rediscovered this series by Richard Hammond (of Top Gear fame). It’s called ‘Wild Weather’ and is worth a watch.


Richard Hammond investigates the crucial role that water plays. Without water there would be almost no weather: no rain, no hail, no snow, no clouds. So Richard goes in pursuit of water in all it’s forms. He tries to weigh a cloud, finds out how rain could crush a car, and gets involved in starting an avalanche.

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Richard Hammond investigates the crucial role that temperature plays in all weather. Without heat there would be no weather – no rain, no snow, no dust storms, no thunder and lightning.

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Richard Hammond investigates how wind actually starts. He visits one of the windiest places on the Planet, walks into the centre of a man-made tornado and creates a 10 metre high whirlwind – made of fire!

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