Weather in southwest France: October 2010 update

Autumn walnut tree chez nous

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.

We are definitely in autumn now. The clocks have gone back, the nights are drawing in and the leaves are turning.

Here is the verdict on how October 2010 stacks up against the 12 previous Octobers. This month, we have added a new refinement to the information – the number of frost nights.

 1.     Weather assessment for October:

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. In October, there were:

Pluses – 16
Zeros – 5
Minuses – 10

The graph shows the percentage of plus days each October for the past 12 years (the line is the trend, which shows that October is improving, although as always there is a lot of variation). There were five better Octobers, one the same and six worse, so this October was pretty average. It was reasonably warm at times, but also quite chilly at others, especially last week.

 2.     Rainfall

 Our rainfall stats go back to August 2004. This October was a bit wetter than average, with 92mm compared with the average of 79.1mm. It rained on 9 days; the average for October is 8.9 days, so it was spot on.

3.     Frost nights

There were five frosty mornings, compared with the average of four for October.

Today is Toussaint (All Saints’ Day). The French have an expression faire un temps de Toussaint (Toussaint weather). I am indebted to Laura K. Lawless who provides the explanation on her excellent blog about French language (click here).

The expression … is a reference to the fact that in most of France, November weather is usually cold, grey, and gloomy. The French public holiday Toussaint takes place in early November, so it makes sense to assume that weather during Toussaint is typical of that month. By extension, that type of weather at any other time of year can be referred to as “Toussaint weather.” Also, since Toussaint has to do with the honoring of deceased relatives, grey and gloomy weather probably matches people’s moods perfectly.

Actually, today is quite pleasant – mild with sunny spells – so it isn’t un vrai temps de Toussaint. However, I have known plenty of 1 Novembers here that have been lousy. Finally, a couple of dictons about Toussaint and the weather you can expect afterwards, which seem to contradict each other:

Suivant le temps de la Toussaint, l’hiver sera ou non malsain. (Whatever the weather at Toussaint, the winter will be the same).

Autant d’heures de soleil à la Toussaint, autant de semaines à souffler dans tes mains. (As many hours of sunshine as there are at Toussaint, as many weeks you will spend blowing on your hands).

Since today is nice, let’s go with the first one.

Copyright © 2010 A writer’s lot in France, all rights reserved

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