There seems little doubt from what people who have lived for some time in the Dordogne are saying that the weather we’re getting at the moment is pretty unusual and a bit weird. It’s much colder than it usually is at this time of the year and I remember when I arrived about a year ago thinking how nice it was having come from a cool, damp UK to experience the pleasantly warm days and nights. This week, a year on, we’re getting highs up to just 15 degrees Celsius and lows down at 8 degrees when the averages for this time of year are around 23 degrees and 12 degrees. Plus we’re getting day after day of constant showers or even continuous periods of heavy rain, so something does seem to be going on.
In my opinion, it looks as though it’s got a lot to do with the Jetstream, the very fast, high level winds that push weather systems west to east across the Atlantic. The very poor cool, wet summers that the UK has experienced in recent years have been explained by some experts as being due to the Jetstream having moved much further south than it usually does, dragging ‘arctic’ weather south over the UK. In ‘normal’ summers, the Jetstream is located to the north of Scotland allowing warm ‘maritime’ weather to come up from the south but with the Jetstream having moved to the south of the UK, there was a barrier to this happening. And the theory seems to have some truth to it, because the Jetstream has on average remained in that position for some time now during which the UK has experienced ongoing periods of colder than average weather and greatly increased rainfall.
If this is true and there is such a link, the news for us further south in France is not good. As if it was not bad enough having the Jetstream positioned to the south of the UK, now the situation seems to be even worse, as it has moved even further south, below the South of France and over the Mediterranean. This is shown very clearly in the following pic taken from the Metcheck.com web site
If it stays like this, and there is no obvious reason why it should revert to its ‘normal’ position as it’s now been out of kilter for so long, the prospects for the weather here in the Dordogne do not look good. The weather that we’ve been getting, with its ‘arctic’ influences of northerly winds, much lower than usual temperatures and above average rainfall could well continue indefinitely, just as it has in the UK. Surely it can be no coincidence that despite being several hundred miles further south, the Dordogne, while it is clasped with the UK in the python-like embrace of the Jetstream snaking to its south, is experiencing almost identical weather and temperatures. I could be wrong, but I’m not optimistic given the image above that things are going to improve for us here in the very near future. We seem to have had seven months of almost continuous winter. How much longer is it to the longest day after which the sun will begin its trek south again? Not long… 😐