Warmest January on record dubbed ‘most extreme event’

UK weather: Met Office forecasts rain and mild conditions

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According to meteorologists, at least eight countries in Europe saw record high temperatures of “almost unheard of heat”. Poland, Denmark, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Belarus, Lithuania, and Latvia were some of the countries which recorded the warmest January day ever.

The data was compiled by Maximiliano Herrera, a climatologist who tracks extreme temperatures.

In Poland, the New Year’s temperature topped the previous high by more than 5C as mercury reached 19C in Korbielów.

The village usually sees such temperatures in the months of spring and has an annual average of 1C for January.

Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkhill said of the Polish temperatures: “It has taken the old record and increased it by more than 5C. That’s exceptional.

“It was exceptional in the UK in July when the record was broken by almost 2C. To do it by 5C is almost unheard of.”

Meanwhile, in Javorník in the Czech Republic, temperatures reached 19.6C despite an annual average of 3C for this time of year.

January in Belarus usually sees temperatures around zero, but on Sunday temperatures in Vysokaje hit 16.4C with the previous record being 4.5C.

Meteorologist Scott Duncan said: “The intensity and extent of warmth in Europe right now is hard to comprehend.

“There are too many records to count. Literally thousands. Overnight minimum temperatures are like summer.”

The new year saw Bilbao in Spain reach 24.9C, breaking the highest temperature record for the city in January.

While temperatures in the UK for New Year’s were not as high as on the Continent, New Year’s Eve saw the village of Frittenden in Kent see temperatures of almost 15C at 14.8C, making it the warmest place in the country.

Friederike Otto works as a climate scientist at Imperial College London and said: “The record-breaking across Europe over the new year was made more likely to happen by human-caused climate change, just as climate change is now making every heatwave more likely and hotter.

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“One of the risks of unusual winter heat like this is that it can cause plants to start growing earlier in the year, making them vulnerable to frosts, as we saw when much of the French grape harvest was lost in 2021.”

Meanwhile, Mr Herrera said that the record-breaking temperatures can be “regarded as the most extreme event in European history”.

He added: “We can arguably say this is the first time an extreme weather even in Europe (in terms of heat) is comparable to the most extreme in North America.”

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