Germany gripped by third day of record cold

Germany marked record low temperatures for the third day in a row on Thursday, with meteorologists measuring a frosty -33.4 degrees Celsius (-28 degrees Fahrenheit) in the Bavarian Alps in the early morning hours.

Germany gripped by third day of record cold
Photo: DPA

The pitiless temperature was registered at 8 am in the Alpine town of Funtensee, weather service Meteomedia reported. Clear skies, dry air and little wind were the perfect combination of factors to beat out yesterday’s record of -27.7 degrees Celsius (-17.86 degrees Fahrenheit) in Dippoldiswalde in the eastern state of Saxony.

Funtensee reached Germany’s coldest-ever measured temperature on Christmas 2001, with -45.9 degrees Celsius (-50.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Click here for The Local’s winter photo gallery.

Other parts of Bavaria and the city of Weimar in the eastern state of Thuringia reported temperatures below -15 degrees Celsius on Thursday morning.

Police reported the second cold-related death on Thursday, saying a homeless woman had frozen to death overnight in her tent in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate where temperatures reached -16 degrees Celsius. The 58-year-old was not prepared for the cold, they said.

“The woman was covered with only a normal blanket,” a Trier police spokesperson said, adding that she and her 43-year-old companion had refused several offers from a hotel owner to put them up in a room for free.

Meanwhile the country’s second-largest body of water, the Müritz in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, has frozen over.

“We have measured ice between four and 10 centimetres thick on the four upper Mecklenburg lakes,” Olaf Schatzki from the Water and Shipping Authority in Waren told news agency DPA, adding that the ice on the 117 square kilometre Müritz lake is too rough and thin for ice skating.

While the low temperature reports are enough to keep many Germans bundled up at home, the weather is expected warm to up after a several-day cold snap.

Click here for The Local’s weather forecast.


2022 sees record wildfire destruction in Europe: EU

Europe's blistering summer may not be over yet, but 2022 is already breaking records, with nearly 660,000 hectares ravaged since January, according to the EU's satellite monitoring service.

2022 sees record wildfire destruction in Europe: EU

And while countries on the Mediterranean have normally been the main seats of fires in Europe, this year, other countries are also suffering heavily.

Fires this year have forced people to flee their homes, destroyed buildings and burned forests in EU countries, including Austria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Some 659,541 hectares (1.6 million acres) have been destroyed so far, data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) showed, setting a record at this point in the year since data collection began in 2006.

Europe has suffered a series of heatwaves, forest fires and historic drought that experts say are being driven by human-induced climate change.

They warn more frequent and longer heatwaves are on the way.

The worst-affected country has been Spain, where fire has destroyed 244,924 hectares, according to EFFIS data.

The EFFIS uses satellite data from the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How the climate crisis is hitting Europe hard

The data comes after CAMS said Friday that 2022 was a record year for wildfire activity in southwestern Europe and warned that a large proportion of western Europe was now in “extreme fire danger”.

“2022 is already a record year, just below 2017,” EFFIS coordinator Jesus San-Miguel said. In 2017, 420,913 hectares had burned by August 13, rising to 988,087 hectares by the end of the year.

“The situation in terms of drought and extremely high temperatures has affected all of Europe this year and the overall situation in the region is worrying, while we are still in the middle of the fire season,” he said.

Since 2010, there had been a trend towards more fires in central and northern Europe, with fires in countries that “normally do not experience fires in their territory”, he added.

“The overall fire season in the EU is really driven mainly by countries in the Mediterranean region, except in years like this one, in which fires also happen in central and northern regions,” he added.