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.


January 2022 Weather in Durham – Mild, mainly dry and very sunny

Storm damage from Storm Malik

The new climate means for 1991-2020 have just been published and that is what I will be comparing to going forward.

January 2022 was a mild and very dry month in Durham. Temperature wise, the mean temperature came in at 4.7 degC, which is about 0.6 degC above the new normal for January. As can be seen by the graph, the mean slowly increased as the month wore on.

The highest temperature of the month was on New Years Day 2022, which became the mildest 1st January ever recorded in most places, significantly beating the old mark. In fact Nationally, the 16.3 degC recorded in St James Park, London easily eclipsed the 15.6C/60.1F from Bude (Cornwall) 1916.

There was very little rain/snow to speak of after 8th January. The 3rd was the wettest day, with a modest 7.2mm recorded. There was then no appreciable rain until the end of the month, when another fierce storm hit the North East (Storm Malik).

The storm brought very high winds and significant damage was again done, mainly to roofs and fences, some of which had undoubtedly been weakened by Storm Arwen in November 2021. Power cuts were a feature again, although not as bad as for Storm Arwen.

These winds also affected the Durham Weather site. The fence holding the rain gauge was damaged, causing approximately 3.4mm of excess rain to be recorded because the fence caused false tips to the gauge. Therefore the correct rainfall total was only about 15mm. This is only about 33% of the 1991-2020 normal for January.

January 2022 had a very high average atmospheric pressure (1024.7mb), with Anticyclonic conditions persisting, giving copious amounts of sunshine in most places. This helped alleviate the gloom of December 2021.

The temperature readily fell when cloud cleared, and there were 6 air frosts (a little less than normal). The coldest temperature was -3.0 degC on the 6th January. The maximum for the month was 13.0 degC on the 1st.


January 2022 Durham Rainfall and Temperature Graph

January 2022 Durham Daily Temperature (1st-17th)January 2022 Durham Rainfall SummaryJanuary 2022 Durham Temperature SummaryJanuary 2022 Durham Atmospheric Pressure Summary

January 2021 Weather in Durham – Wet and Cold

Durham Cathedral in the snow, January 2021

January 2021 – A cold, wet month at Durham

With Storm Christoph a noteable feature


After the warmth of January 2020, this month proved to be the exact opposite.

The month proved to be both wet and wintry, with an exceptional snowfall in the North East area on or around the 6th-8th of the month. Some photos can be seen here.

The month averaged only 2.3 degC, which is the coldest January in Durham since 2010.

Not unusually for a cold month, it had 13 air frosts recorded, with the lowest temperature of -4.2 degC on the 9th January. There were six days where the daily mean was below zero centigrade.

We didn’t quite manage an ice day, the closest being the 15th when the maximum reached a modest 0.7 degC.

Readers should ignore the anomalous high reading on 2nd January as this was caused by me changing the batteries in the outdoor sensor!


The monthly rainfall total of 136.6mm was notably high for a January.

There were 5 days with more than 10mm of rain. The 19th and the 28th exceeded 20mm.

The 19th-20th yielded 35.6mm. This came from Storm Christoph.

The official Durham Met Office station at Durham University recorded 137.2mm, and Professor Burt tells me that this is the 2nd wettest January at Durham since 1850, only January 1948 being wetter (although by quite some margin)

The rainfall total was about 250% of average for January.

Air Pressure

The air pressure was high for the first 18 days, before the arrival of Storm Christoph. The barometer fell to 976.8mb in that low pressure system, on the 21st.

Storm Christoph left serious flooding in many parts of the UK again, although the River Wear in Durham just about stayed within it’s banks.


January 2021 Daily Weather Data for Durham 1
January 2021 Daily Weather Data for Durham 2

January 2020 Weather in Durham – Mild and Dry

A red sunrise over Bishop Auckland

The recent trend has been that winter months in Durham have been on the dry side. January 2020 was very much in that vein. It was also very mild for first week. On the 8th/9th there was overnight snow in the High Pennines, although only rain fell elsewhere. This was heavy in places. This was actually the wettest day in Gilesgate, Durham, with 13.6mm of rain recorded, the wettest day since 19th November last year.

It was very mild and wild on the 11th, and the strong winds continued until the 13th/14th as a depression passed through, with some snowfall in Scotland and some of the higher ground in the North. Still nothing in Durham.

From 16th the High pressure began to build and by the 19th of January an atmospheric pressure of 1048.9mb recorded in Durham. It’s rare to get anywhere near 1050mb, even in winter. Nationally, it was the highest barometric pressure since 1957. The official record wasn’t broken however, this remains as 1053.6mb, recorded at Aberdeen on the last day of January 1902. The Durham record for January is 1052.5 mb recorded on 23rd January 1907.

On the 23rd of January the region was awoken by an Earthquake of magnitude 2.8 (on the Richter Scale) recorded on Teesside just before 6am. Some local wags reckoned it had done several million pounds worth of improvements.

Late in the month on 27th/28th there was snowfall in Northern Ireland and W Scotland from a Polar Maritime returning airstream behind a depression. The High Pressure was gone and we were back to wild and windy weather as the Jetstream powered up again. It became very mild again as the month closed.

The rainfall total was surprisingly low at only 31.4mm. There were 15 dry days, which is good fot January. This was the second winter month in a row this has happened. It’s quite welcome after the wet June-November spell last year.


January 2019 Weather in Durham – Cold second half

The New Year opened much the same as the old one ended, with dry benign weather and extraordinarily persistent High Pressure for the first half of the month. The high was a cloudy one, so temperatures stayed above freezing, with no fog or frost. It’s very unusual for a January to have such a high average pressure and not be cold and frosty.

Alarmist headlines were again plentiful in the tabloids, with lots of doom laden promises of snow-bombs and Polar vortices, the writers not really having a ‘scooby’ what they were writing about. All done to generate paper sales.

By 17th we got a strong Northerly flow and this drove snow showers inland along areas exposed to the wind. A slight covering of snow resulted.

Conditions continued generally cold in the second half, with the coldest weather reserved for the final day. Temperatures fell overnight 30th/31st to -5.9 degC, which is pretty impressive without any snow cover. The snow did arrive the following night though, with a 2″ powdery covering going into February.

See : Palatinate – Durham in the Snow

Mean temperature for the month was 4.1 degC, which is slightly above the long term average for January (3.8). There were 10 days with air frost altogether.

The low level of rainfall was remarkable for a January total. 10.1mm is about 20% of what is normally expected here.