Featured Photo by Julian Debono
If you found yourself thinking that last month wasn’t the usual January in Malta, you’re not wrong.
January 2018 in Malta was considerably sunnier and warmer than usual. The sea was also warmer than average, and the wind speed also marked a sizeable mean increase.
Rainfall, however, was a completely different story, with January’s total rainfall not coming anywhere close to the expected quota. In fact, last month was the driest January the Maltese islands have experienced in the last decade.
In a press release issued by the Malta International Airport, the full extent of these findings were further explained.
January’s average maximum temperature exceeded the climate norm by 1.3°C, with the average minimum temperature being a further 1.6°C higher than usual. The highest maximum temperature was 19.2°C, with the lowest being 7°C. The sea maintained a mean surface temperature of 16.5°C, rather than the expected 15.8°C.
All of this was echoed in the fact that January was brighter than expected, with 169.1 hours of sunshine being recorded. The month’s maximum for sunshine, 17th January, saw 9.3 hours of sunshine. And for some context, that’s more than the total sunshine hours enjoyed by certain French cities in all of the first half of January.
The bad news, however, is that all of this contributed to a very short supply as far as the month’s precipitation was concerned. Amounting to just 13.3mm, January’s total rainfall came nowhere near close to the 92.9mm expected at this time of year, putting it as the driest January in a decade.
Almost half of January’s total rainfall – 6.4mm to be exact – was measured on the twelfth day of the month. 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.