Monthly Météo: November 2011 Weather in SW France

Still a few leaves on this vine at Saint-Grat

The drought continues here in southwest France. Ten days ago we went for a walk where we normally have to cross a fast-flowing stream using stepping stones. This time it was completely dry. You could walk along the bed of the stream without getting your feet wet. I have never seen it like that in our 14 years here.  

This time last year we had already had our first snowfall – on 27th November. This was unheard of and heralded a particularly unpleasant December when we were snowed in about three times. This year, the astonishing Indian summer has continued for much of November. It’s only in the past few days that persistent fog and cloud have reminded us what time of year it really is.

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 November

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 November, there were:

Pluses – 12
Zeros – 9
Minuses – 9

The chart shows the percentage of plus days each November for the past 14 years (the line is the trend). This is one of the better Novembers, with nine worse and four better.

November weather 2011

Rainfall

Our rainfall stats go back to August 2004. In November we had only 33.5 mm of rain compared with the average of 69.9 mm and it rained on 6 days against the average of 10.3.

Overall for the year, the rainfall deficit is significant and quite worrying. In total we’ve had only 70.6 % of the average.

The President of the local Syndicat des Eaux, which manages the local water supply and quality, told us that they are having to import 400 cubic metres of water per day from elsewhere for our commune’s needs.   

Frost nights

We had no frost nights this November. My geraniums are still going strong and flowering away. Normally, the frost has blackened them early on in the month.

To finish, here are a couple of dictons (sayings).

Le vent de novembre arrache la dernière feuille – wind in November carries off the last of the leaves. [Not true – it was very windy at times this November but the leaves hang on. It’s the frost that takes them and we have had virtually no frost.]

Beaucoup de pluie en octobre, beaucoup de vent en décembre – a lot of rain in October means it will be windy in December. [We had very little rain in October so hopefully we can look forward to a still December. But no snow. PLEASE.]

Copyright © 2011 Life on La Lune, 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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6 Responses to Monthly Météo: November 2011 Weather in SW France

  1. Steph says:

    Your graph really shows what a good November it’s been. First day of winter here today, though. Drizzle, strong wind and very cold. I’m fed up with it already and want the summer back! However, we’ve cheered ourselves up but putting up some Christmas decorations.

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    • nessafrance says:

      It’s been a bit grim here on and off this week. Either foggy or cloudy with a bit of sunshine in between. It remains mild, though, but the forecast is for it to get colder from next weekend. Not long till Christmas – something to keep the spirits up!!

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  2. Your weather recording is most impressive! It seems there are extreme conditions of one sort or another all over France. We had a pretty variable summer but a wonderful autumn here in 65. Now it’s getting colder and we have the occasional fog in the valley and some rain. I guess we’re lucky in this area. What does concern me a lot is the confusion experienced by the flora and fauna. Plants and trees going into flower, animals producing out of season, it’s not good. Still as Liz says, it’s probably too late for us to do anything about it. As ye reap… Silent Spring with all its implications is fast arriving. We humans have a lot to answer for.

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    • nessafrance says:

      Thanks for your kind words. It’s not me, it’s my husband, the Statistics Freak (aka the SF) who has the mania for recording stats of any kind. It has given us a pretty good record of the weather here, even if some of it is rather subjective. I agree that the plants and trees don’t know where they are. By this time of year the trees have already lost their leaves but this year this hasn’t happened yet. I suspect there isn’t much we can do now to reverse the trend of climatic change – we can only tinker at the margins.

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  3. Very interesting, and we have exactly the same weather situation here in Tuscany. August was a record hot month and it’s not rained at all since the end of July. November is normally the wet month here, but bright beautiful warm days have continued and it’s very worrying for the farmers who have already sown the wheat. I wish the world would accept that the climate is changing, but maybe it’s already to late for us to do anything about it.

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    • nessafrance says:

      The climate is certainly doing some very odd things in recent years. It’s definitely changed since we moved here: drought is becoming more common, while paradoxically the winters seem to be getting colder. I think everyone now accepts that human activity is partly responsible but whether we can do much to change it now is debatable.

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