Weathering the Storm

Large branch from an ash tree

Large branch ripped from an ash tree

 

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.

Destructive effects

Stone table covered in leaves

Stone table covered in leaves

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.

Shredded leaves on and around the pool

Shredded leaves on and around the pool

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.

Chairs strewn around

Chairs strewn around

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:

Pluses: 23
Zeros: 3
Minuses: 5

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.

Propertion of pluses in August

Propertion of pluses in August

 

Rainfall

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.

Rainfall 2015 to date

Rainfall 2015 to date

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.

You might also like:

Thunder in the Air
Thunder and Lightning at Puycelsi
O Wild (South) Wind – or le Vent d’Autan

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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10 Responses to Weathering the Storm

  1. Paul Diamond says:

    Oddly we got the storm warnings too, but apart from a little rain during the night there was little of note, certainly no winds, and we cant be more than a hour due north of you. Perhaps being in the Dordogne valley provides us some protection?

    Like

    • nessafrance says:

      These things are very hard to predict accurately. You are probably rather more than an hour away – I’d say two. Not that this makes a huge difference when it comes to weather. But storms like that are very localised and even in our area the effects were varied.

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  2. Osyth says:

    I was AWOL in the UK for my daughters wedding for all of August save a few days in Germany at the end of the month and had absolutely NO idea that a storm had been raging. However, on letting myself into my flat to know electricity and a ruined stash in the freezer I was rudely awakened. I do hope you are recovered and can report that the weather in the Cantal is now lovely, if cool and a tad breezy …..

    Liked by 1 person

    • nessafrance says:

      I hope your daughter’s wedding went really well. Not too much damage here, fortunately, but it was quite severe in parts of our département. As in the Cantal, it’s cool and breezy here. I was so hoping we might get up to the Cantal for a couple of days in Sept, but we have so many commitments and are off to Corsica (again) on 18th for 10 days, so we might have to take a rain check until 2016. Really sad, I love the Auvergne so much. But you can’t do everything…

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  3. Rebou says:

    On the road from Lauzerte to Montauban there are dozens of trees which have either been blown down or snapped halfway up the trunk. Almost all of these were Plane trees. Yes, there has been a lot of damage. As for OLCOTE, the run off from the adjacent field has blocked the ditch with mud about 1 metre deep and over the bottom of our drive to a depth of circa 15 cm. The ditch is important that it should be cleaned ASAP as the next heavy rain will make it even worse.

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    • nessafrance says:

      We are on the opposite side of Tarn-et-Garonne and I think the sector between Lauzerte and Montauban was probably the worst hit. Even so, around here we’ve seen a lot of trees that have snapped off in the way you describe. I hope you get the ditch cleared out soon. These things need to be sorted out quickly or they can cause even more problems the next time.

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  4. It’s interesting how different the local weather is; we had the storm, but no damaging wind. I’m quite glad it happened as the poor old garden has been getting drier and drier; all very perked up now 🙂

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    • nessafrance says:

      It is very localised. It was particularly bad along the River Aveyron gorges, which seem to attract thunder storms. We got the edge of it, but it was bad enough here. We didn’t get a huge amount of rain – about 22 mm – but it has refreshed the garden.

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  5. pfornari says:

    Just landed in a very cool and wet Brussels from a very hot and dry Rome! I do like the variety of European weather…hope the storm didn’t do too much damage…

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    • nessafrance says:

      The storm was summer’s last gasp. It was very hot on Monday and it’s unlikely to be so hot again. Very little damage chez nous but quite a lot elsewhere.

      Like

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