Malta experienced an unusually warm weekend, with Saturday the warmest January day since records began. 

The highest temperature of 25.8C - more than 10.2C above the monthly average - was recorded on January 9, the Met Office has said.

This warm trend persisted into Sunday, with the minimum air temperature for the day reaching the 19.4C mark in the early hours of the morning, going on to set a new highest minimum temperature record. 

The highest temperature on Sunday was 20.8C.

A south-westerly wind from the Sahara desert contributed to Saturday’s warm air temperature. This was sustained on the following day largely due to the presence of a dense and multi-layered cloud cover, which trapped the heat overnight, the Met Office said.

It said mid-level clouds, which served to reflect sunlight from the setting sun, can be partly credited for the spectacular sunset the Maltese islands experienced on Saturday afternoon as hues of red and pink lit up the sky. 

Prior to Saturday, the record for the highest air temperature for the first month of the year was on January 29, 1939, when the mercury hit the 22.8C mark.

Back then, clear skies led to this high temperature being short-lived, with meteorological records showing that the following morning a mild minimum temperature of 13.9C was recorded.

The Met Office said unstable air masses surrounding the Maltese islands, particularly on the Adriatic Sea, together with a low pressure system over Scandinavia are resulting unstable weather conditions for Malta.

This will lead to colder days, with the air temperature expected to reach highs of 15C - dropping to 13C on Saturday - and register lows that range between 7C and 11C.

Wednesday and Thursday are expected to be windswept days, characterised by force 5 to 6 north-westerly winds which may, at times, reach force 6-7 and be accompanied by showers.

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