Monthly Météo October 2011

One that died of thirst?

Today is Toussaint – All Saints’ Day. There’s a saying in French, ‘Un vrai temps de Toussaint’ (typical Toussaint weather). This means that it’s grey, rainy and cold. Today is living up to its reputation and autumn has arrived at last, except that it is not particularly cold. We shouldn’t complain: up until last week it had barely rained for two months.

I took the shot above when we went for a walk two weeks ago. The temperature that day was well into the 20s C and we were in shorts and T-shirts. It hadn’t got to the stage where cattle were expiring in the fields but the grass was dry and brown and the farmers have had to feed the cows on this year’s already meagre hay crop.

Autumn colours in the Viaur Valley

Owing to the drought the autumn colours have been magnificent this year. But we have run our citerne dry watering the garden. Fortunately our 12 metre deep well has held out.    

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.

1.    Weather assessment for October:

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 October, there were:

Pluses – 21

Zeros – 3

Minuses – 7

The chart below shows the percentage of plus days each October for the past 14 years (the line is the trend). Like September, October is definitely improving. In 14 years only one October has been better than this year’s and one has been the same.

2.    Rainfall

Our rainfall stats go back to August 2004. We’ve paid for the fine weather with a serious drought. This October we had 46.5 mm of rain compared with the average of 75 mm. It rained on 6 days against the average of 8.5.

The total rainfall for the year to date is 504 mm. The average is 691.2 mm. This means we have had only c. 73% of our normal rainfall, a deficit which is going to have to be made up over the winter to avoid water restrictions next spring.

3.    Frost nights

There was one frost night in October.

To finish, here are a couple of dictons – one about the weather we’ve had and one about what’s to come: 

Octobre ensoleillé, décembre emmitouflé. (Sunny in October, wrapped up in December).

A la mi-novembre passée, il peut venter et neiger (after mid-November it can be windy and snowy). It certainly was last year.

Better make the most of any sunny days we get from now on.

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

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About nessafrance

My husband and I moved to an 18th-century farmhouse in SW France in 1997. I am fascinated by French history, rural traditions and customs and enjoy seeking out the reality behind the myths. I run my own copywriting business and write short stories and the occasional novel in my spare time. My husband appears here as the SF, which stands for Statistics Freak, owing to his penchant for recording numbers about everything.
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2 Responses to Monthly Météo October 2011

  1. I thought it had been a good October. Into winter today though, with rain and wind. However, no complaints. We’ve had a wonderful summer and early autumn, and we really do need some precipitation.

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    • nessafrance says:

      The seasons do seem to change quickly – one day you’re still in summer, the next you’re into winter. It usually changes around the time the clocks go back. According to our stats, November and December are getting worse while the autumn months are getting better. Never mind, less than two months and it starts to get lighter in the evenings again.

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