Weather in southwest France: November 2010 update


November evening sun behind our house

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.

The British have a reputation for talking about the weather a lot. This is unfair: in this part of France, the natives talk about nothing else. However, you can’t blame them. Since many of them are farmers, the weather has a critical effect on their livelihoods.

The Statistics Freak has been hard at work crunching the numbers so that I can give you the low-down on November’s weather. It’s not good. Here are the figures.

1.     Weather assessment for November:

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 November, there were:

Pluses – 4
Zeros – 7
Minuses – 19

This makes this November the worst month ever since our records began in June 1998 in terms of number of pluses (or, if you prefer, number of minuses). Not only has it been gloomy, lacking in sunshine and generally chilly, but we also had an unprecedented fall of snow last Saturday – a full month earlier than last year, which itself was unusually early. Much of France is shivering in the grip of winter; the poor folk up at Orléans have had an inhabitual  -14°C for the past few nights.

The graph below shows the percentage of plus days for this November and the previous 12 years (the line is the trend). November is definitely on a downward trend; in fact, I’d say it’s in freefall. As with any month, the weather can vary greatly between years, but no previous November has been as bad as this one.

Proportion of pluses Nov 2010

2.     Rainfall

Our rainfall stats go back to August 2004. It rained a lot this month: 126.5mm against the average of 75.1m. The graph below shows the actual rainfall against the average for all months of this year so far.

It rained on 19 days in November, as opposed to the average of 11, which shows just how miserable it’s been.

Rainfall Jan-Nov 2010

3.     Frost nights

We had six frost nights in November. The number of frost nights in November varies enormously from year to year. Generally, the better the weather, the frostier it is at night because the sky is clear.

To finish, I found a French proverb on the Internet, which is remarkably apposite, given last Saturday’s (27 November) snow:

A la saint-Séverin [27 November],
La neige est en chemin.

(On Saint Séverin’s day, the snow is on its way.)

I don’t know about on its way – it must have taken the TGV to get here early.

And for the festive season to come here’s one to make you think:

Noël un samedi,
An où tout le monde mendie.

(If Christmas falls on Saturday [as it does this year], we’ll all be begging, come what may.)

Very loosely translated by me to get the rhyme. I’ve no idea of the origins of this dicton – why should it be worse if Christmas falls on a Saturday than if it’s on any other day? Answers appreciated, all you savants out there.

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

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