Marlborough's January weather: what came before the snow was pretty dry, but not as pretty as the snowWith just 47 per cent of the 35-year average, rainfall in January was in short supply. There were 20 dry days - against the average for the month of 12 days.
Precipitation in Marlborough totalled just 43.3mm, which was 48.5mm below the average. It was the driest January since 2006.
Set against the limited rainfall, an equivalent rainfall of 11.4mm was lost to evaporation from ground sources and from any plant life above ground at this time of year.
There were three days when snow fell. Most notable was the snow that started at 20.33 on January 31 and continued throughout the night, not stopping until 18.30 on February 1.
This snowfall produced the equivalent of 9.4mm of rainfall on January 31 - the wettest day. The snow depth varied from 15cm, where the land was windswept, to a more representative 26cm on my large vegetable garden.
With modest amounts of snow, the contents of the rain gauge can easily be emptied into a container and slowly melted to discover the equivalent rainfall. However, the heavy snow at the end of the month, combined with drifting in the strong north-easterly winds, meant the depth of snow varied considerably.
At such times the Standard Meteorological five inch rain gauge is inverted - or similar 5inch cylindrical container - and pushed down over three different areas to sample the snow at various depths.
A flat surface is then placed at ground level and slid under the container to trap a column of snow. The contents are then slowly melted and averaged to get an approximate rainfall equivalent.
January was a cold month with the mean temperature 1.1C below the 35-year average - making it the coldest January since 2010. There were 17 days when a frost occurred. The most severe saw the thermometer dropping to -7.2C in the early hours of January 31.
At the opposite end of the month, we had four consecutive very cold days. The thermometer resolutely refused to get above a maximum of 1.3C on January 4 - that was almost 6C below average. In contrast to those cold days a maximum of 10.8C was measured on January 25.
There were only eight days with no sunshine. And the total sunshine for the month came to 87.6 hours - with the sunniest day occurring on January 28 with 7.5 hours.
Morning fog was noted on two days.
Eric Gilbert has more local weather information at www.windrushweather.co.uk