It’s still a bit early for snowdrops, although they are visibly pushing upwards. The best places in the area to see them are on the banks of the River Seye behind the Abbaye de Beaulieu (now a centre of contemporary art) and the banks of the River Bonnette above Caylus. The ground is carpeted with them from mid-February.
Fortunately, we have had no snow in January this year, apart from the occasional light flurry, which has not settled. It has veered from being very cold at times to quite mild at others. Here are the figures.
1. Weather assessment for January
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 January, there were:
Pluses – 16
Zeros – 7
Minuses – 8
The chart shows plus days as a percentage of the total for each January for the past 13 years (the line is the trend).
In terms of number of pluses, this January takes joint first place with January 2002. This doesn’t necessarily mean it was warm, but it does show that it was sunny. This is in stark contrast to January 2010, which had only six pluses.
Our rainfall stats go back to August 2004. We had 57mm of rain this January, compared with the average of 89.6 days (see chart below). It rained on six days compared with the average of 11.2.
We had very little rain this January. On the one hand, this is welcome since we all prefer to see the sun. On the other, it could lead to problems later on if the aquifers are not replenished in the winter. By the time the spring comes, the rain is less penetrating since the plants soak it up. And who wants it to rain in May and June like it did last year?
3. Frost nights
There were 13 frost nights in January. This is around the average for the 12 years we have been keeping these particular figures. January last year was cold with 17 frost nights, but January 2000 and January 2005 both had 19.
Since Saint Valentine’s Day falls this month, I have tried to find a suitable weather dicton. The best ones I can come up with for that day, and not very romantic, are:
Tel temps le jour de Saint-Valentin, tel temps au printemps qui vient – whatever the weather is on Saint Valentine’s Day, it will be the same during the spring.
Février avec neige nous garantit un bel été – A February with snow guarantees a fine summer. But I’d rather not have the snow.
Finally, one for the whole of February, with which I’m sure we all identify:
Février, entre tous les mois, le plus court et le moins courtois – February among all the months is the shortest and least pleasant.
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