Tuesday, 14th July (Bastille Day)
Since 22 June when I last commented… that week was hot, sunny, clear… the Friday 26th there was a terrific thunder storm mid-day whilst I was in Dijon, but cleared away for a sunny and clear evening. The following week, 29th June through 5th July was nailingly hot, (30° ish), sunny, humid, with a little rain mid day the 30th, and the afternoon of the 1st but not enough to make any difference. The night of the 5th there was a good storm around midnight, lasted an hour or two, but when I got up in the morning there was almost no water standing on the flat roof of the building opposite, so there cannot have been much rainfall, despite the sound and fury of all the thunder and lightning. This past week, since the 6th it has been cooler, temperatures closer to 20° than 30°, a mixture of sun and clouds but sun predominating, and dry as a bone.
Till yesterday. Cloudy most of the day, and about 19:30 it began to rain. That storm passed after an hour or so without much trace, but since midnight it has been raining steadily. Great thunder and lightning for the first two hours or so, then it just settled down to raining and hasn’t really stopped since. Occasionally it gets really heavy, then eases up, but it doesn’t quite stop altogether. Looking out at that flat roof opposite, it is now a solid swimming pool full of water, which, guessing from how it has looked after previous storms, with puddles and high and dry spots, means we must have had an inch of rain so far, at least. In other words, enough to make a difference and sink into the soil a bit. Which has got to be a good thing, after so dry a month or more.
Meteo when I looked last night was for showers all day today, cloudy tomorrow, and clearing for the end of the week.
Went out for a walk late this afternoon, the worst of the showers had cleared off by 14:00 ish, though it remained mostly overcast. Walked up again to one of the Hospice of Beaune vineyards, Les Montrévenots, which is premier cru pinot noir, high on the hillside, on the line with Pommard.
22 June the grapes looked like this:
Almost no standing puddles even on the paths, let alone in the vineyards, so I guess the vines have sucked up every drop that fell the past 24 hours. Certainly the ground was soft and my boots were sinking in about an inch, rather than just raising dust on a rock hard surface as previously.
And now it’s almost 21:00 and it’s begun to rain again.
Update Wednesday, 15 July 2009 morning
It rained off and on all night, some good thunder and lightning at times, one strike was close enough to make me jump. Today it’s a mixture of overcast and sun and around 22°, and the forecast is for sunny and warm and 31° tomorrow, then storms on Friday with the temperature back down around 21°, Saturday chance of rain and 18°. And the forecasts have been pretty accurate, I’ve found.
After writing this last night it occurred to me there had been no hail since I’d been here, not that I’d seen at any rate. This morning’s newspaper had a photo on the front page – Monday night’s rainstorm, the one that started around 19:30 as I walked home from the internet café, apparently clobbered a village south of here with hailstones up to 600 grammes – over a pound! The photo was of a farmer’s livestock barn, and the corrugated roof was riddled with holes where these hailstones had crashed through. Apparently houses and cars had broken windows, electricity and phone lines were lost, and crops ruined – both those still standing in the field and those already stored in barns where the hail broke up the roof or windows and let all the rain in. Another photo showed someone holding several of hailstones – each about the size of a nectarine. The village was Aubeny la Ronce, which is about 7 miles west of Meursault. The story did not mention damage in any other communities – which is not surprising, these things are incredibly local. David Clarke told me of one hailstorm that wiped out some vineyards near his in Brochon, I think it was, a few seasons back, but luckily his vines were untouched.
The article also said Monday night’s orage was the most violent known in Burgundy since 11 July 1984, and put the rainfall that night at 20 to 30 litres of rain per square metre, and up to 70 litres in some places.