A Garden in Umbria

Winter Rain - Pennies from Heaven - January 2021

Did you get a lot of rain last month? Did it seem never-ending, as if December was a complete wash-out?

Well, you would be right and here is the data to prove it: December 2020 broke all records. In fact we had 3.5 times the amount we would expect on average.

Rainfall monthly averages and 2020 (Data source: Ian Robertson)

But what a good thing it was. As you can see from the graph, we usually get the heaviest rain in November but in 2020 there was hardly any. January and February were very dry too. Overall the total rainfall in 2020 was slightly less than the average yearly amount, so we would have been in real difficulties if December had not provided such a deluge.  

I am indebted to Ian Robertson for his diligent rain-watching in Paciano: the measurements he has recorded over the past 20 years give us a very clear picture of how much rain we should expect in each month of the year.

Annual rainfall over the past 20 years

There is no clear overall trend, but it should be of concern to us that in 2001 and 2017 we received less than two thirds the average annual amount: this cannot be sustainable.

How did you feel about all this rain? Happy or sad? Hopeful or despairing?

The wet weather was a very dreary time (how about Tina Turner’s I Can’t Stand the Rain?) but for me this is ‘Pennies from Heaven’ and you can hear Frank Sinatra singing the song here. We need it now to replenish Lake Trasimeno and the aquifers, and the natural growth pattern of olives and vines and many of the plants in our gardens is to soak up the water in winter and prepare for the summer dry heat.

(Postscript: in fact we received almost no rain at all for the rest of spring 2021.)

The photo at the top of this page shows rain over the hills behind Castiglione del Lago in February 2021 (Photo Priscilla Worsley)

Many of these articles first appeared in the Castiglione del Lago monthly newsletter “Qua e là” edited by Priscilla Worsley

All text and photographs © Yvonne Barton unless stated otherwise

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