Friday, December 17, 2010

Weather Watching

I've been a 'weather watcher' ever since the first time I lived in the Midwest in the early 80's. When you live someplace where people's livelihoods depend on whether a crop gets rain at the right time or is flattened by hail, weather becomes an important topic! When I was growing up in southern California, though, weather was a virtual 'non-topic.' It was always a variation of sunny and clear...sunny with a chance of rain, morning clouds followed by a sunny and clear afternoon, sunny today with late afternoon fog rolling in, etc. etc. Weather is on my radar ( no pun intended!) again. As in...I'm baffled by it here in southwest France! Shortly after our unexpected snowfall last month, this area experienced a mini-heat wave. It got up to 65 degrees one afternoon, and I opened both doors and the one window that isn't shuttered against the winter cold in an attempt to warm up the house a bit. The swing in temperatures caused everything inside to be coated with a thin sheen of condensation. Next day...temps were back into the low 40's for highs. Yesterday I walked to the bus stop in spitting snow. The gray sky lowered almost to the ground and all the village houses looked like they were enveloped in a thin fog. Smoke curled from all the chimneys, and I was glad to sit inside the bus kiosk out of the wind. By the time I returned home from Figeac, a light snow dusted everything. I walked briskly to the Chatette and was very glad to get inside, stir up the fire, and fill my tummy with hot, homemade leek and potato soup! The very fine, light snow continued the rest of the afternoon. So...this morning when I got up to let the dogs out for their first pit stop, I was totally surprised by....pouring rain! The temperatures have again bounced up by 20 degrees. Yesterday's 20's are today's 40's. And the rain continues. I don't get it; is this normal winter weather here? I guess I'll have to ask the resident weather guru, Jean-Paul.

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