Last night at 1:00 the sound of the wind buffeting the house, and the banging of shutters and windows in their frames, woke me up. It was blowing harder than it did even during the big storm we had on Monday — at least that was my impression.
Lying half-awake for two hours listening to the whooshing wind noises and feeling the house actually shudder and twitch, I tried my best to get back into a sound sleep. Finally, at 3:00 a.m., the wind started blowing so hard that Callie got scared. She retreated to the living room and started barking at the clanking and clunking noises outside. With every howling wind gust, there was another shrill, howling bark.
I got up and brought the dog back into the bedroom, where she calmed down as the wind did the same. It was raining. I could hear the plonk! plonk! of big drops of water falling on the plexiglass awning over the back door, just below the bedroom window. I wished I had closed the shutters down there to keep rain off the door, but I didn't want to get up and do it in the middle of the storm.
It was a surprise to hear and feel such strong winds because they hadn't really been mentioned on the weather forecasts on television. Forecasts are based on data from the French national weather service, Météo France. The forecast we saw had said that it would be raining at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday and clearing and breezy by 7:00 a.m. today, Wednesday.
And all that was perfectly accurate. It was raining yesterday right after dark. In fact, it had been raining for about 12 hours by then. Walt walked Callie in the rain in the morning, and I walked her in the rain in the afternoon. Otherwise, we were shut-ins. Today we are supposed to have showers, but not steady rain. C'est déjà ça — that's a slight improvement.
But what about those high winds? Why weren't they predicted, or mentioned in the weather forecast? Well, it's because they came through the area between 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., a twelve-hour period for which no predictions are issued. It's true whether you watch the weather forecasts on TV or look at them on the MétéoFrance web site.
It's as if there is no weather at night in France. Only once or twice in the five years since we moved here here has Météo France released a forecast for nighttime conditions, and that was when there was going to be an exceptionally violent windstorm or a significant snowstorm. Otherwise, when it comes to nighttime weather in France, you are, well, in the dark.
It's as if everybody in the country goes home at night, closes all the shutters, and stays indoors without worrying about what is going on outdoors. All weather activity is virtually suspended, at least in the minds of the weather forecasters. Out of sight, out of mind. Why should you care about the weather when you are inside eating dinner, then watching TV, and finally sleeping, as they say, on both your ears?