A very wet January for the Anglia region breaking records in places

Sunset over Yoxford in Suffolk. Photo: Credit: Karen Dutton.

It will come as no surprise that it has been an especially wet January for the Anglia region.

Whilst not as badly hit as other parts of England, an average of 103 mm (4.1 inches) has still fallen throughout the region according provisional rainfall totals. This is almost twice the average for the month of 53 mm (2.1 inches) and makes it the wettest January since 1988 although very close to the total in 1995.

More data is yet to be collated but January 2014 is set to become the third wettest January on record in the Anglia region. The wettest was in 1939 with 119 mm (4.7 inches) followed by 1988 with 117 mm (4.6 inches)

The breakwater on South Pier in Gorleston on a sunny day at the beginning of the month. Credit: Alan Smith.
Hailstorm in Dunstable on the 3rd January. Credit: Colin Knight.

The Met Office has rainfall data for East Anglia dating back to 1910 and 2014 is provisionally the third wettest January on record. The total for this January is very close to that in 1995 and it is possible as the figures are refined over the coming days the 2014 is adjusted either higher or lower.

The top ten wettest Januarys in East Anglia since 1910 Credit: Met Office data
Lightning over Oulton Broad in Suffolk also on the 3rd January. Credit: David Tedstone.

It's a remarkable fact that with one month to go until the end of winter, we've already seen 100% of the average winter rainfall in just December and January. Roughly five days out of every six so far this winter have seen a spell of significant rain.

During January in the Anglia region there was rain on an average 28 days out of the 31 during the month. At Andrewsfield near Braintree in Essex at least 0.2 mm of rain was recorded on every day of the month. The highest daily total there was 11.6 mm (0.5 inches) on the 31st.

Flood at Houghton Mill, Cambridgeshire. Credit: Martin Childs.
A halo around the sun and a circumzenithal arc above it, spotted over south Norfolk on the 10th January. Credit: Bryan James.

Rainfall totals for January 2014 at sites in the Anglia region

  • 158 mm in Harpenden, Hertfordshire
  • 144 mm in Southend-on-Sea, Essex
  • 130 mm in Hitchin, Hertfordshire
  • 122 mm in Northampton
  • 116 mm in Woburn, Bedfordshire
  • 115 mm in Capel St Mary, Suffolk
  • 109 mm in Andrewsfield, Essex
  • 107 mm in Shoeburyness, Essex
  • 103 mm in Bedford
  • 98 mm in Wittering, Cambridgeshire
  • 98 mm in Cambridge
  • 97 mm in Holbeach, Lincolnshire
  • 94 mm in Santon Downham, Suffolk
  • 91 mm in Sawtry, Cambridgeshire
  • 90 mm in Buxton, Norfolk
  • 90 mm in Weybourne, Norfolk
  • 87 mm in Marham, Norfolk
  • 84 mm in Wattisham, Suffolk
  • 72 mm in Norwich
  • 62 mm in Chedburgh, Suffolk
A tranquil scene involving a seal and a sunrise on Horsey Beach mid-month. Credit: Pete Cherry.

Even before January ended the Met Office reported that it has been the wettest January ever in Southeast and central southern England. That area has 175 mm (6.9 inches) of rain between 1st and 28th beating the previous record of 158 mm (6.2 inches) set in 1988.

The main reason for the mild and wet weather so far is that we have seen a predominance of west and south-west winds, bringing in mild air from the Atlantic - as well as the unsettled and at times stormy conditions.

Clouds clearing over Yaxley in Cambridgeshire. Credit: David Bradley.

It's also been an exceptionally mild winter so far. The weather systems that have brought us all the rain have also carried mild Atlantic air. Indeed, this winter has been notable for its lack of any significant cold spells. Mean temperatures have been 2.1 Celsius above average and if we see further mild weather in February it could be one of the mildest winters on record.

Violets blooming early at Norton Mandeville, Essex due to the unusually mild winter. Credit: Ann Boorman.

As well as being very wet, January 2014 in the Anglia region was also very mild. Day time maximum temperatures averaged 8.4°C which was 1.5°C above normal. Relatively speaking the nights were even milder - they were 2°C warmer than normal averaging 3.6°C throughout the month.

It was the mildest January since 2008 and, if the provisional figures are confirmed, the eighth warmest January since records began in 1910.

A foggy day at Chantry Park in Ipswich. Credit: Mark Ward.
A Felixstowe sunset. Credit: Paul Egner.