April Showers

At the start of April, the MET Office announced that most of the south of England was officially in drought. Watering restrictions (hose pipe bans) were implemented in the south east counties.

It turns out that England has been in a drought since we arrived. Friends in the US ask me how can I stand the weather in England, picturing a constant downpour of rain. It does not rain as much here as it does in Vancouver, Canada where we use to live. The winters are milder than in Santa Fe. Here it snows once or twice and they think an inch of snow is a disaster, whereas in Santa Fe I remember Steve shoveling our roof because there was so much snow we thought it might collapse.

April sunshine in 2011
April sunshine in 2011

Overall, I like the weather here. We can hike year round. Some times of the year it is muddier than I would like, but walking through the fields after a heavy rainfall is delightful. The main problem with the weather is the inconsistency – you never know what it is going to be like. Last summer we had friends visit in June, which the year before had been sunny and hot, but last year was cold and wet. Another friend visited in July and, thank goodness, we had a few brilliant days, but the rest of the time was overcast and drizzly. No one visited when it was sunny and hot for all of April and September.

It is no wonder I think the weather is good – we have been in a drought the whole time we have been here!

Even in a drought, the ground is moist. In Santa Fe the ground is hard and dry, nearly impossible to dig and loose dirt blows around in the spring winds. In England the dirt is dark and damp and has a rich smell. I used to think I was smelling mold but then I realized it was the smell of the outdoors – earthy, moist. Maybe it is because we are on a small island, surrounded by water, criss-crossed by rivers – water everywhere – that the ground stays constantly moist.

Spring hiking in Boulder
Spring hiking in Boulder

No sooner was the drought announced than it started raining, and raining, and raining. We went back to the US at the end of March and missed the one week of hot, sunny weather here. We arrived back to a month of rain. Today it is pouring and the wind is howling and the MET has announced flood warnings. We live in a house beside a river that flooded in theĀ  July 2007 Cotswold flood. The upside is we have a new kitchen on the lower level because the old one was destroyed by the flood waters; the downside is obvious. (But rentals are scarce here and we figured what are the chances of a 100 year flood happening twice in a decade? Hmm … )

Every day I look at the weather forecast for the week. Seven days of rain, temperatures in the 50s. Occasionally a picture of sun with rain. Then I look at Santa Fe – sun and 70s. Paris – rain (that makes me feel better). And Northern Portugal because we are going there in July – rain. April was a rainy month for much of Europe.

We have friends from Canada arriving next weekend. The forecast is saying rain. May 1 is on Tuesday – please bring us May Flowers!!


MET Office – UK’s National Weather Service

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Pauline Kenny

Pauline Kenny and Steve Cohen are US expats living in Dorset. We moved to the UK in 2010. Read about our move. If you would like to talk about travel, please join us on the Slow Europe Travel Forums.

3 thoughts on “April Showers”

  1. The MET Office has announced that April 2012 is the wettest April since they started keeping records. There has been flooding in the South West. Nothing in our immediate area, but some in Tewkesbury. Nothing like the 2007 floods there, but the River Avon is flooding a bit.

  2. Funny thing is I heard on CNN news today about a town in Belgium that has lost so much revenue because of a weather forecast that had made detailed predictions three months in advance and now they want to sue the weather forecaster. After reading your blow about how weather changes at a whim, I wonder whether forecasters can get anything right nowadays!

  3. It kept raining through April, May, June and into July. The wettest April and June on record. We got a week of hot, sunny weather in May. And it does not rain all the time – many nice sunny days, but much more rain that the last two years. Our week in Portugal was warm (low 70s) and mostly sunny – a nice break.

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