Thursday, February 09, 2012

It's still cold

I know, I know. It's February. It's supposed to be cold. But we live in a climate zone that is normally tempered by the Atlantic Ocean (even this far inland) and harsh winters are not normal. In fact, this winter, until now, has been quite the opposite: very mild. Then suddenly, at the end of January, the winds shifted to the northeast and the Siberian frigid air started pouring in to France.

Out at the end of the vineyard road (right) where it joins the paved road (left).

The warm and wet Atlantic weather systems are blocked by the icy air. When one actually manages to push inland, the combination of the humid air from the west and the cold air from the east creates snow. And that's what's been happening this past week. The battle of the air masses!

The top story on the nightly news for a over a week now has been the weather. Cold and snow, traffic problems and school closings, and the homeless and hungry. The nuclear plants are running à plein régime (full steam, as it were) to keep up with the power demands; a lot of French households are heated by electricity. France's electricity prices are among the lowest in Europe because over 80% of it is produced by local nuclear plants.

Two regions, Brittany and Provence/Riviera, are on high alert because their power distribution networks were not built to handle such high demand. It's not normally this cold in those places.

After a few more days, we should be moving back into more seasonable temperatures. For us, that's days hovering around freezing (0ºC) and usually higher than that. Anything above freezing right now will feel downright balmy!


  1. Walt, before the next time I open up your blog I'm going to put on my parka, scarf, gloves and wooly hat AND turn the heating up. Only then will I able to endure the pics of your big freeze. By the time I've read what you say I have to scrape the ice from off the computer screen!

  2. Well, it is a bit harsh here these days isn't it?
    We are further south than you and even here, freezing up.

    What makes me laugh though, is how people are afraid to drive, because of some snow drifts around the country roads.

    Plough straight through them I say, but even the Brits are looking at me as if I am crazy.

    I am just used to it from Canada's snowy roads.

  3. Walt,

    I'm with Ray, lately my computer screen has been icing over when I open your blog. Man oh man, Siberian weather in La La Land. Who would've thunk? I eagerly await your Spring Collection of Photos, which I KNOW will come soon!

  4. And we've basked in one of the mildest winters in a long time. In fact, I spotted crocus coming up yesterday. And pink flowering cherry blossoms a few days back. Weird.

  5. H.Peter

    You have kept your winter driving techniques from back home and it's good ( assuming that your tires are OK also)

  6. Hoping for balmy weather for you soon!

  7. Well, it's obviously that danged global warming!

  8. And they always say, as we get older, we tend to just talk about the weather...
    They're WRONG! The Weather MAKES us talk about it!!!

    Mary in Oregon

  9. raybeard, LOL!

    hpeter, I haven't ventured out in the car much since it got cold. It must be a lot of fun!

    ron, you and me both!

    alewis, very strange year, indeed. I'm looking forward to seeing the crocus here.

    t.b., sounds like he has.

    ginny, thanks!

    starman, of course!

    mary, it's just that we learn that most other subjects are taboo!


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