Signs of Spring and Southwest France Weather February 2015

A vivid rainbow I snapped last week
A vivid rainbow I snapped last week

 The SF (Statistics Freak to the uninitiated) tells me that winter runs from November to February. Personally, I feel it’s longer than that, but it’s better not to argue with the expert. Even so, by the end of February, I am usually climbing the walls and longing for spring. This year is no exception.

At least it is going in the right direction. It’s less than a month until the clocks go forward and the cuckoo arrives. And a few signs of change are already in evidence. The daffodils will flower soon, we saw a violet on the lawn (only one and a bit bedraggled, but still…), the evenings are drawing out, the quality of the light is different and the sun has warmth, when it deigns to come out. The birds are more active and vocal, too. I have heard a blackbird singing several mornings running. Buds have appeared on the trees, still tightly furled, but ready to burst.

This month, I’ll provide a roundup for the winter months, November to February inclusive, as well as for February.

Subjective weather assessment

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.

From November to February, the proportion of each compared with the average is as follows:

Pluses – 28% (33% average)
Zeros – 29% (32% average)
Minuses – 43% (35% average)

This confirms my feeling that this winter, although not cold, was gloomier than usual. This is borne out by the rainfall stats (see below under Rainfall).

For February, the +/0/- stats are as follows:

Pluses – 10
Zeros – 7
Minuses – 11

This puts February 2015 into the better half of the league table, with 6 better and 10 worse. Although the last week of Feb was pretty dire, we have also had some pleasant sunny days. And it snowed a couple of times as well, although not heavily, so we’ve had just about every kind of weather. The graph shows the percentage of plus days each February for the past 17 years (the line is the trend).

Proportion of plus days each February
Proportion of plus days each February


Our rainfall stats go back to August 2004.

Over the winter months, we had a total of 302.5 mm, a bit less than the average of 307.1 mm. However, it rained more often – on 55 days compared to about 46 – reinforcing the sense that this was a gloomy winter. The mud in places is indescribable, but then this is la France profonde.

In February, which is traditionally a dry month, we had a little more rain than usual – 62.5 mm compared to the average of 57. It rained as frequently as we would expect – the average of 10 days.

Rainfall 2015 to date
Rainfall 2015 to date

Frost nights

Frost nights so far for the winter total 36, 16 of them in February. We can still get frost in March and the occasional frost in April.

March has started wet, but it might as well rain now rather than in the summer. Here’s a dicton (saying), of which French country people are so fond, about March.

En mars, quand le merle a sifflé, l’hiver s’en est allé In March, when the blackbird has sung, winter has gone.

That’s good news, since the blackbird had already started in February. Vivement le printemps!

You might also like:

Seven Signs of Spring in SW France
Nature Comes Back to Life
The first cuckoo

Copyright © 2015 Life on La Lune, all rights reserved


  1. Glad to hear that Spring is coming!
    Looking forward to getting back to some cooler weather and the arrival of the first cuckoo!


  2. Oh gosh – I so wish Winter WOULD be over in February … here in Cantal it can snow right through April. We have thawed and the rivers are absolutely raging but when I asked a friend at lunch time if it was the ‘fin du neige’ she just laughed. To be fair, though it has been pretty mild this winter but that just makes me more nervous that the worst is yet to come!


    • This winter (and last) have been very mild by comparison with some we’ve had in the past 10 years or so. Where you live, some snow is always a likelihood into the spring: a downside of living in such a wonderfully beautiful area. We’ve had snow here in March on occasion. And I have a vivid recollection of going to the transhumance in the Aubrac (a bit SE of you) at the end of May 2007, where it was 1 degree C and absolutely freezing and it snowed there the following day!


  3. Hi Vanessa,well here in England retford to be exact, near Doncaster it isn’t going to warm up till next Saturday!. But on a positive note I’m full steam ahead planting seeds.working on peoples gardens,and hopefully next week it will be allotment time.I’m trying to build up the momentum on creating the community garden,I’m getting e mails from people, so we shall see.I have offered my time,and hopefully this will encourage more people. I’m going to try and get some big name gardeners to give a talk day I shall be gardening for a living! Yours sincerely kev.


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