The weather here is atrocious. Well, it is if you’re thinking about flying a light aircraft, anyway. When I got up this morning, which wasn’t that early because it’s hardly worth it (if you have the choice) when you can hear wind and rain lashing against your bedroom window, the garden outside was soaked and the water was almost up to my doorstep in the mud outside my kitchen door. When I went to get some wood in yesterday, the ground from the door around to my wood store was like a swamp with rainwater lying in pools in the footprints left by my rubber boots from previous days, so goodness knows what it was like this morning because I didn’t want to find out until I had to.
As I type this, the rain has stopped slapping against my back door, behind me, and there has been a brief period of bright sunlight between the almost unremitting heavy grey cloud. But it keeps doing this, and although it buoys our hopes for a few minutes, we know that the respite will be brief and pretty soon the cloud and rain will roll back in again. In fact, here it comes again, right now. I mentioned in an earlier posting that we expected there to be more rain, from then until the end of this week, but I didn’t think that it would be this cold or this windy and with this amount of rain.
We can see from today’s satellite photos on the internet where it’s all been coming from, which is from way out over the Atlantic.
But this is only half of the story. The question is, ‘Why?’ And we don’t have to look too far to get the answer, because it turns out the ‘usual suspect’, the jetstream, is what’s mainly responsible.
I recall before I left the UK to come to France, talking about how the weather there had been adversely affected by the jetstream’s moving further south than usual for the time of year and how it had dragged ‘arctic’ weather down with it, bringing cold, wet and windy conditions. At that time the jetstream had made it about as far down as the English Channel, but it appears from the above image, that it has now drifted a great deal further south, bringing similar conditions not just to south and west France but also to northern and mid-Spain and possibly even parts of north Africa. This begs several questions – one being, ‘How much further south can it possibly drift?’ Another is, ‘Just how long will this weather cycle go on for?’
I haven’t been watching the jetstream’s recent progress but it’s pretty obvious that trends such as we are viewing do not just happen overnight – my guess is that it has taken several weeks for it to trek south, which explains the unsettled weather conditions that we’ve been experiencing in recent weeks. There are several possibilities as to what will happen as from now. Firstly, if the jetstream has not reached its southernmost limit, we are clearly going to be in for more of the same for a while to come. The first image, above, shows that south and west France are being affected by the same unsettled weather patterns as the UK, except that because the UK is further north, on average it is colder there with a chance that the precipitation will fall as snow. It’s probably reasonable to assume that if the jetstream continues its trek south, colder conditions will also be dragged further south into France.
However, if the jetstream’s move south has now either reached its southernmost limit, or, more optimistically, has already begun its move north again, at least there would be a light on the horizon for we ULM pilots in France, and in both cases, it would be just a matter of time before things here begin to improve. So now we just have to wait and see which scenario applies – and just keep watching what that ruddy snake high up in the sky gets up to, because only it, not us, has the power to decide what happens next 😐