August went out like a lion with one of the most damaging storms we have experienced for several years. The thunder and lightning were not especially violent, but the wind was, gusting up to 150 kph in places. We are still tidying up the mess.
Ramparts of thunder clouds had been building up in the West during the last day of the month. We battened down the hatches as usual, removed the geranium pots from the steps, secured everything we could and unplugged all our electronic equipment. The full force was unleashed about 9 pm.
I watched from an upstairs window as the wind whipped the trees back and forth, fully expecting the roof to peel off any moment. Thankfully, it didn’t. We surveyed the scene the next day and found only one tile off the barn roof. But the swimming pool was full of leaves and sticks and the garden was littered with twigs and branches – some of them quite large. A lot of not-quite-ripe walnuts were ripped from the tree. The wind was so much more devastating because the trees were in full leaf. Winter storms are not quite so damaging.
We were fortunate here that the electricity went off for only half an hour. Other places in Tarn-et-Garonne have only just been reconnected. Children rejoiced the day after the storm, since they should have gone back to school (la rentrée), but many schools were closed that day. The buzz of chainsaws was the prevailing sound as people cleared up.
Weather assessment for July
Since I’m talking about weather, here are the weather stats for August. We have been applying a subjective weather assessment for nearly 18 years. 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 August, we had:
The chart shows the percentage of plus days each August for the past 18 years (the line is the trend). Like July, August can be very variable. Happily, this was one of the better ones: four have been better and one was the same.
Our rainfall stats go back to August 2004. Although August was mainly fine, we had 111 mm of rain, well over the the average of 70.2.
Owing to this and to substantial rainfall earlier in the year, the total for the year to date is 622.5 mm, which is 7.5% above the average of 578.9.
Now we are in September, my favourite month of the year. The mornings are cooler and sometimes a little misty, but the weather is often the most settled and can still be hot.
Here’s a dicton (saying) for September:
En septembre, il fait bon être tout le jour dans la campagne (It’s good to be in the countryside all day in September).
I’ll second that. Now, back to those sticks.
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