Yesterday, we did one of our favourite walks. It takes in the ruined Château de Labro, and goes up and down the wooded slopes of the secluded Seye Valley. We walked under luminous blue skies with barely a cloud. There was a slight nip in the air, but it was perfect rambling weather. Autumn here is, in my view, the best season for walks: warm, but not too hot, and dry underfoot.
It’s time for the annual verdict on the summer weather. According to the SF (Statistics Freak, aka my husband), the summer includes the five months from the beginning of May to the end of September. Some of those months are often less than summery and they ran true to form this year.
The SF’s figures bear out our impression that the weather pattern down here is changing. From January to May or June, it’s frequently damp and chilly. But from July onward the weather improves and we often get Indian summers. Last year, the good weather ran all the way to the end of December.
Let’s look at September first. We have a subjective weather assessment by which 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 September, we had:
Pluses – 24
Zeros – 6
Minuses – 1
This September was lovely. In fact the first 10 days or so were hot, with temperatures well into the thirties C. But then it turned chillier, and so the swimming pool temperature shot down and we’ve now put the pool to bed altogether for the winter.
The graph shows the percentage of plus days each September for the past 19 years (the line is the trend). Only September 2014 was better and only one other has equalled this year’s.
Looking back over May to September, overall we had fewer pluses and zeros and more minuses than the average over 18 years (we don’t have complete data for 1998, hence only 18 years). May and June are largely responsible for that, both of them being among the worst we have experienced during that period of years.
The chart shows the proportion of pluses each year over 18 years for that five-month period. Interestingly, the trend is pretty flat, but some years stand out as being unusually good (2003, 2009 and 2012) or particularly bad (2002, 2007 and 2013)
When you look at the rainfall chart, you can see why the first six months were so dismal. We had more than the average rainfall every month. We even had more than average in July, but that month redeemed itself in other ways.
August and September, by contrast, have been very dry indeed. In September, 23.5 mm of rain fell; normally we would expect 52.6 mm.
Even so, the rainfall is still above average for the year to date, with 736 mm against the average of 644 mm.
October and beyond
October started with a small amount of rain, but now it’s dry again and sunny but chilly for the season. So, let’s consult the famous dictons and see what they have to say about the weather in October.
En octobre, qui n’a pas de manteau doit en trouver un bientôt. He who has no coat in October had better get one soon. (Pretty obvious, really).
Froid d’octobre tue les chenilles. Cold weather in October kills the caterpillars. I hope it also kills the flies, which can be a plague in the house in autumn.
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