Weather in southwest France: February 2011 update


Winter hasn’t quite ended yet and it could still have some nasty tricks up its sleeve. However, the signs of spring are appearing: the daffodils are about to burst out, starry celandines have appeared on the lawn, reflecting the sunshine, and the first violets are out. The Statistics Freak has been slaving over a hot spreadsheet doing the figures. So how does this winter compare with last winter so far?

The answer is, that after a very grim start and four snowfalls before Christmas (including Christmas Eve, which brought with it a 10-hour power cut), January and February have been much better than last year.

Here are the figures.

1.     Weather assessment for February:

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 February, there were:

Pluses – 9
Zeros – 8
Minuses – 11

The graph shows the percentage of plus days each February for the past 13 years (the line is the trend). There have been five better Februaries, five worse and two the same. This February wasn’t particularly good, but it wasn’t particularly bad either, especially when compared with February 2010, which could only manage five pluses.

2.     Rainfall

Our rainfall stats go back to August 2004. Rainfall can vary enormously in February (as indeed it can for any month). This year we had less than the average: 45.5 mm against an average of 53.3 mm. The most we have recorded for the month of February was in 2007, when we had 135.5 mm. This preceded a particularly gloomy summer, so let’s hope it works in reverse as well. The graph shows rainfall so far this year against the average by month.

However, it rained on 12 days this February, as opposed to an average of 9.6, so it rained more often but less copiously. 

3.     Frost nights

It’s been reasonably mild this February, apart from a very cold, grim start and a cool couple of days at the end. We had 11 frost nights compared with an average of 10.66. Again, this can vary hugely. 

Finally, as usual, a weather dicton (saying), to which the French are particularly attached.

Quand mars bien mouillé sera, Bien des fruits tu cueilleras
When March is nice and wet, lots of fruits you’ll get.

Well, it’s still all to play for, but the forecast for mid-end of this week is for wall-to-wall sunshine. Qu’il dure!

Copyright © 2011 A writer’s lot in France, all rights reserved


  1. You’re making me homesick! We’re back in Edinburgh to meet our first grandchild – a lovely reason for the trip – but we’ll miss the start of Spring in Lectoure.


    • Congratulations on your first grandchild – a very exciting first meeting, I’m sure. I love Edinburgh but it has one big drawback: the weather. And I always seem to go there in the winter!


  2. I thought it hadn’t been a bad February. We obviously don’t get exactly the same weather as you here in Central France, but my impression was that there had been far worse Febs in the past few years.
    Hats off to you for keeping your daily records! It must be a lot of work but the results are fascinating.
    Very cold and wintry in Creuse today. Think it might be a chilly March.


    • It was a pretty average February. Our assessment, though, is subjective and doesn’t take temperature into account, since we can’t measure it accurately. My husband loves doing his weather stats and we have a very elaborate spreadsheet with all this data going back 13 years in some cases. But then he keeps stats about everything, including all the books he’s read in a year!


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