Just in case you hadn’t noticed, this February was one of the coldest since the 1950s. Down here, it was beaten only by 1986, when the temperature got as low as minus 27C in our district. The coldest temperature we recorded this year was minus 13C but our neighbours down the hill in a frost pocket had minus 17C one morning. For a period of two weeks, the temperature rarely got above zero, even during the day.
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 February
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 February, there were:
Pluses – 11
Zeros – 12
Minuses – 6
Although it was exceptionally cold, we had a lot of sunshine. Mind you, we had to stay in and look out at it – there was no question of going outside for more than a few seconds. Even our walking group had to cancel one of its outings. It’s amazing how it can change, though. The last week of February was radiant and we worked outside in shirtsleeves and had lunch outside several days running.
The graph shows the percentage of plus days each February for the past 14 years (the line is the trend). There have been eight worse and five better Februaries, although none has been so cold.
Our rainfall stats go back to August 2004. February is traditionally a dry month here. Nonetheless, we had only 10.5 mm of rain – almost nothing – against the average of 47.9 mm. It rained on 5 days compared with the average 9.
The deficit is becoming very marked. Since last (wet) July the only month when rainfall has exceeded the average is December. It’s early days, but so far this year we have had less than 50% of normal rainfall and there’s none in sight for at least a week.
Was there a night without frost? Apparently, we had five nights without any, making 24 nights with subzero temperatures.
Here’s a dicton (saying) about the month that’s just gone :
Février, le plus court des mois, est de tous le pire à la fois – February is the shortest month and the worst of the lot.
And another about March:
En mars, quand le merle a sifflé, l’hiver s’en est allé – In March, when the thrush has sung, the winter has gone.
I’ve heard a thrush singing already, so let’s hope they’re right.
To finish, a photo of a bee on a hazel catkin in our garden last week. I was standing underneath the tree and heard the bees buzzing at the top. A lovely sight, which cheered me up no end.
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