Norway records warmest ever January day in rare heatwave

Norway records warmest ever January day in rare heatwave

The town of Sunndalsora in western Norway set the country's new January temperature record on Thursday, January 2, 2020, with the mercury hitting 19 °C (66.2 °F), according to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. The area is experiencing a rare heatwave for early January-- a time when temperatures should be normally below freezing.

The temperature recorded on Thursday was over 25 °C (45 °F) above the monthly average, making it Norway's warmest January day since records started. The previous January temperature record in Sunndalsora was 17.4 °C (63.3 °F).

"It's a new record for warm weather here. People [have been] out in the streets in their t-shirts today," Yvonne Wold said, mayor of Rauma municipality. "A lot of people are usually skiing at this time. Not exactly much of that today."

It also broke the record for any winter month in Scandinavia, which is December to February, BBC forecaster Peter McAward said.

Although temperatures have been warmer in Scandinavia in December, the exceptionally warm day in the municipality was down to its particular location.

"The main cause for the record-breaking temperatures at this particular site was a foehn wind," McAward explained. A föhn or foehn wind is a type of dry, warm, down-slope wind that occurs in the downwind side of a mountain range.

Sunndalsora also held Norway's warmth record for December with 18.3 °C (64.9 °F) set in 1998, and warmest February with 18.9 C (66 °F) set in 1990.

Featured image credit: Abdelmuhaymin Abbas/Wikimedia


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