Monthly Météo: Weather in SW France January 2013

Cows looking as fed up as we are
Cows looking as fed up as we are

“Is France weather getting worse?” This was a search term someone used to land on my blog today. Given how dreary the weather has been since New Year, you could be forgiven for asking that. In fact, I almost didn’t do a weather post this month since I’m so disgusted with it. But the SF (Statistics Freak), who is in charge of our weather stats, is standing over me until I do.

Every month I post an update on how the weather has been in our corner of southwest France, 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.

Weather assessment for January

This January gets the prize for the worst month we have had since we started keeping records. It snowed at least three times and we were snowed in twice. That wouldn’t be so bad if the rest of the month had been decent. But it was gloomy, damp and miserable. It wasn’t cold but I would rather it had been below zero but crisp and sunny.

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 January, we recorded:

Pluses – 2
Zeros – 8
Minuses – 21

The chart shows the percentage of plus days each January for the past 15 years (the line is the trend). The only month that comes close for lack of pluses is April 2012, which had only 3, while December 2009 and November 2010 each had 19 minuses.

Proportion of pluses in January over 15 years
Proportion of pluses in January over 15 years


Our rainfall stats go back to August 2004. It rained a lot this January: 134 mm versus the average of 86.7 mm. It rained on 21 days; the average is about 12. It’s true that we need the rain and if it’s going to rain it might as well do it in the winter but it doesn’t do much for one’s mood.

Rainfall 2013 to date
Rainfall 2013 to date

Also, the most annoying of our local farmers has insisted on carting manure to a field beside our lane for the past fortnight. Because it’s been so wet, the field is now like the Somme from his tractor wheels, which drag huge quantities of muck and mud out onto the road. In fact, you can’t see that it is a proper road. You could grow potatoes in the wheel arches of our cars. I daresay he has as much right as we do to use the road but I’m not sure he has the right to leave it in such a state for other users.

Last week - if you think this is bad you should see it now
Last week – if you think this is bad you should see it now

Frost nights

We’ve had very few frost nights so far this winter. The total is 17 so far, with 4 in January. The winter total is normally somewhere over 50. This can still change, of course.

Here’s a dicton (saying) about February. The French are very fond of these:

Beau février c’est disette au grenier – nice February means a shortage in the granary.

I think the opposite should come true this year in that case, since the forecast up to mid-Feb is not good. I’ll just go and slit my wrists…

Copyright © 2013 Life on La Lune, all rights reserved


  1. God, sounds like it’s been horrible chez you. We were lucky, although we don’t keep stats, we had plenty of good days along with some horrible ones. As for this month, according to the meteo, we have seven mixed sun and rain, two rain and one cloudy forecast with no minus’s except tonight when we’re due for -2˚. On vera. In this area, we have what we call the finger-valleys coming up from the Pyrénées and the weather will vary from valley to valley, so friends two ridges or valleys over will get completely different weather. I hope your forecasts are pessimistic and the rain lets up enough for your chemin to dry out. And what an inconsiderate farmer!


    • It has been a pretty rotten winter here. February doesn’t seem to be any better – snowing again today and more forecast for tomorrow. I wouldn’t mind if it weren’t so gloomy. We’ve hardly seen the sun for weeks.


  2. I agree with ‘dreary’ as the description for this winter. It’s been grey, wet and nasty. We had a lot of snow this afternoon but it’s already gone slushy. Rors’ hopes of being snowed in tomorrow won’t be fulfilled. Still, nearly the next set of holidays anyway!


  3. Oy- you think you guys have problems. MY DRIVING EXAM SCHEDULED FOR JAN 16th WAS CANCELLED BECAUSE OF THE SNOW! It’s been rescheduled for mid March, when I will be in England, so it will be postponed again to mid May. This will mean that I will have spent two and a half years (and muchos euros because I can only take the exam in a dual control car, which is only accessible through driving schools, which demand several hours of lessons for the priviledge) trying to convert my New York license into a French one. Aaaaaargh!


    • That’s very annoying for you. And it all sounds quite unnecessary, too.

      I had to cancel a business trip to the UK because of the snow and am having difficulty rearranging it so it was annoying for everyone in different ways.


  4. I suffered some of that dreadful weather in Paris this past week. But I can’t really sympathise – having endured a full year of terrible weather in England in 2012!


    • I sympathise. The UK has had some ghastly weather over the past couple of years. At least it’s nice here – on and off. But no one tells you how the winters can be before you move here.


  5. Please don’t slit your wrists,. that would really be terrible. I think we all are in need of a cheery breakfast with lots of good company to start the day on an optimistic note. In fact i just got invited to a breakfast – my first in France though we girls used to do it all the time in England, as a thankyou for making lots of things for a craft fair. Only trouble was that the invitation stated there would be no vienoisserie. I don’t call that breakfast if there’s no Vienoisserie, and it’s even more depressing than starting the day to a wall of drizzle!
    Its nice to know that this is the worst jan since records began – at least we are justified in feeling miserable!!


    • Don’t worry – I had a couple of glasses of wine instead! Well, it was the worst Jan since our records began but that’s 15 years ago. So it is pretty bad.

      A cheery breakfast sounds like a good idea but I would have to have pain au chocolat to make up for the awful weather.


    • I’ve just had to look up Vienoisserie, and agree, it is not breakfast without them… but as Vanessa suggets, maybea glass or two of wine will make up for it! Food and wine always converts misery into pleasure at least for me.
      Reading about all this dreadful weather makes me glad to live in Australia, although two of our states have had some devastating floods again.
      Vanessa, thanks again for my visit to your part of the world 🙂


      • It’s interesting that we call Viennoiserie Danish pastries. I agree about food and wine – not much else to do here but eat and drink in this weather!


  6. I’m surprised that January got even 2 pluses! Miserable month and February so far hasn’t been much better.


    • We argued about the first plus but decided to be generous and award it. The second one was last Wednesday (30th Jan – so pretty late), which was a genuine plus – sunny and mild. As for February – if only I could hibernate!!


      • When I first looked at the stats, I thought maybe that was a -2 for pluses! That might be appropriate! How does SF feel about negative numbers??


        • Perhaps I need to set that out more clearly. However, some days probably deserved a double minus, in which case there could well have been a minus 2 for pluses!


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