Southwest France Weather Roundup for 2014

 

Frosty albizia today

Frosty albizia today

First of all, Happy New Year, Bonne Année. And a big thank you to the more than 45,000 visitors who came to my blog last year.

The SF (Statistics Freak) has been slaving over a hot computer today so that I can bring you the weather roundup for 2014. And, despite the fact that it is provisionally judged to be one of the three hottest years since 1900, there are one or two surprises.

December 2014

First, let’s look at December. It’s not a cheery picture.

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 December, we had:

Pluses – 6
Zeros – 12
Minuses – 13

The graph shows the percentage of plus days each December for the past 17 years (the line is the trend). This shows how variable the weather can be. It also shows that December 2014 shares the accolade with December 2009 as the worst over that period.

Proportion of pluses in December over 17 years

Proportion of pluses in December over 17 years

It has been particularly gloomy, broken only by some frosty and sunny weather in the final days of the month. Our lane is appalling: full of mud and puddles, so that our car has changed colour from gunmetal grey to sludgy brown and you could grow potatoes in the wheel arches. But the start of the winter has been mild, with only 9 frost nights so far.

Rainfall

Our rainfall stats go back to August 2004. In December we had 60 mm, actually rather less than the average of 77.9 mm. But it rained on 13 days; normally we would expect rain on 12 days.

Weather in 2014

What about the year as a whole?

As I mentioned above, Météo France says 2014 was one of the warmest on record. Winter 2013-14 was exceptionally mild, with very little frost and only one light dusting of snow. Oddly, though, July and August were abysmal. July was the worst ever in terms of the number of pluses, while only two Augusts have been worse in 17 years. Thankfully, we had a radiant September and October.

The year as a whole had 172 pluses, whereas the average is 178 and some years have recorded far more (2011 had 201). 2013 was the gloomiest since 1998, when we started keeping the stats, with only 146 pluses.

2014 was a comparatively damp year: a total of 906.5 mm compared with the 865.1 mm you would expect, i.e. nearly 5% more. And it rained on 137 days, as opposed to the average of 119.

Rainfall in 2014 compared with the average

Rainfall in 2014 compared with the average

 

So here’s hoping that the winter is mild, but not too mild. A bit of frost doesn’t do any harm. And a sunny, warm summer would be appreciated, too. However, a dicton (saying) for January 1st says:

Année neigeuse, année fructueuse. A snowy year is a fruitful year.

I’ll forgo the fruitfulness in favour of not being snowed in.

Frosty sage plant

Frosty sage plant

Copyright © 2015 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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