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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 January 2007, 19:26 GMT
UK records second-warmest January
A yellow rose
The warm January has seen yellow roses bloom in Tyneside
This January is on course to be the second warmest in the UK since records began and the fifth warmest in central England for 350 years.

The average UK-wide temperature so far for the month - which experts say is unlikely to change - is 5.9C (42.6F).

The average Central England Temperature (CET), which has been measured since 1658, is 7.1C (45F).

The Met Office began recording UK-wide weather in 1914, with the warmest January since that time coming in 1916.

During that record month, the average temperature was 6.3C (43.4F).

The Met Office said temperatures had been pushed up by winds blowing warm air in from the west.

This month's average is 2.5C above the Met Office's long-term January average, measured between 1971 and 2000.

The warmest CET - which covers a triangle between Manchester, London and Bristol - was also recorded in 1916 when a reading of 7.5C (46F) was taken.

Climate change

This January has also seen 17% more sunshine and 21% more rain than normal.

A Met Office spokesman said the warm temperatures were down to wind directions across the month and were in line with recent trends.

"The warm temperature this month is because we have had a lot of winds from the west," he said.

"When winds blow in from the Atlantic it keeps things milder than average.

"The last 30 years in particular have seen a remarkable warming trend and this is in line with what we would expect to see with climate change."

Along with warmer than normal weather the month saw gales on 18 January which resulted in 11 deaths.

Winds of up to 99mph also caused travel disruption, damaged homes and businesses and left thousands of people without power.

The Met Office said colder weather was expected to return next week with "one or two" cold snaps in February.

Spring time flowers are already in bloom

Q&A: Climate change
30 Jan 06 |  Science/Nature

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