Weather in southwest France: May 2010 update


Not many like this in May

Every month I post an update on how the weather has been, based on the statistics we have kept since 1998. To see the other weather posts, please click on ‘Weather’ under the Topics tab in the right-hand sidebar.

This is certainly a year of extremes, weather-wise. Unfortunately, they are mostly on the negative side. The worst winter in 13 years was followed by one of the worst Marches, the best April and now the worst May. The Saints de Glace (Mamert, Servais and Pancrace – 11th, 12th and 13th May) were operating with a vengeance this year. We even expected snow one day during the first week of May, when the temperature did not rise above 2º C. 

Here are May’s weather statistics, hot from the computer of the Statistics Freak (aka my husband). A quick reminder of our subjective weather assessment: we assign each day a plus if it’s fine, a minus if it’s bad and a zero if it’s indifferent or we can’t decide.  We have already given today a minus, even though it’s not over yet, since we have had rain and gale force winds. As a weather saying I found on the Internet says: 

Quand le chat passe sa patte sur la tête, bientôt il fera tempête (when the cat cleans his head with his paw, there will soon be a gale). 

Our cat was washing vigorously behind his ears this morning, so he obviously knew what was in store. 

1.     Weather assessment for May: 

12 years of comparative stats. 

Pluses – 10; Zeros – 10; Minuses – 11 

The graph shows the percentage of plus days each May for the past 12 years.  The line is the trend.  


2.     Rainfall 

Our rainfall stats go back to August 2004. This May had slightly more than the average rainfall: 92mm (average 88.8mm). It rained on 13 days, compared with the average of 11 for May. So it wasn’t particularly wet, but it was generally grey and chilly, apart from a brief hot spell after mid-May. 

To finish, I found another saying specifically about today (31st May), which doesn’t bode well for June: 

S’il pleut à la Sainte-Pétronille, pendant quarante jours elle trempe ses guenilles. (If it rains on Saint Petronille’s day, she’ll soak her rags for 40 days). 

This is a bit like the St Swithin’s Day (15th July) tradition in Britain, which holds that whatever the weather is like on that day, it will stay that way for the next 40 days. I sincerely hope the saying about Sainte-Pétronille is wrong… 

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