Record lightning strikes Germany

Over 600,000 bolts of lightning have struck Germany in the past week, a new record, the daily Bild reported Monday.

Record lightning strikes Germany
Photo: DPA

On Friday alone, 150,000 lightning strikes were recorded within a six hour period. Germany has never experienced as much lightning within a week as it has recently, the newspaper reported, though it did not cite sources.

Where there’s lightning, there’s often rain, and recent rainfall has also been of record proportions. Over 107 litres per cubic metre were recorded flowing into the Oder River on Friday, 1.5 times as much as in an entire month. Parts of Düsseldorf experienced major flooding after storms Friday.

Three people died due to lightning strikes over the weekend, the newspaper reported, with at least four others injured.

The storms were caused in part by hot, humid conditions across Germany. The German Weather Service (DWD) said Monday temperatures will cool across the country this week as a low pressure area moves over the North Sea and Scandinavia.

Tuesday will see variable conditions with heavy clouds and periods of sunshine with showers and short thunderstorms. North-western and south-eastern Germany will be moist with highs of 20 degrees around the North Sea and 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) in eastern Germany.

The weather tease will continue into Wednesday with a mix of clouds, sun, showers and storms. Temperatures will range between 18 and 24 degrees. Things will cool down even more by Thursday, when it will be cloudy with occasional storms and showers and temperatures won’t exceed 22 degrees.

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Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine

A stranded cargo ship caused traffic to be halted Wednesday at the Rhine river in western Germany after suffering a technical fault, authorities said, at a time when water transport was already ailing from a drought.

Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine

The vessel is stuck at St. Goar and Oberwesel, in between the cities of Mainz and Koblenz, water police said, adding that they were expecting to clear the stricken ship within the day.

The machine damage came as water levels in the Rhine had dropped to critical points at several locations, including at nearby Kaub — a known bottleneck for shipping where the river runs narrow and shallow.

The gauge at Kaub stood at 34 cm (13 inches) on Wednesday, well below the 40-cm reference point.

While vessels are still able to navigate at low water levels, they are forced to reduce their loads to avoid the risk of running aground.

About four percent of freight is transported on waterways in Germany, including on the Rhine, which originates in Switzerland and runs through several countries including France and Germany before flowing into the sea in the Netherlands.

READ ALSO: How the Rhine’s low water levels are impacting Germany

Transport on the Rhine has gained significance in recent months because among cargo moved on the river is coal, now all the more necessary as Germany seeks to wean itself off Russian gas.

Germany’s biggest companies have already warned that major disruptions to river traffic could deal another blow to an economy already beset by logistical difficulties.

The 2018 drought, which saw the benchmark depth of the Rhine in Kaub drop to 25 cm in October, shrank German GDP by 0.2 percent that year, according to Deutsche Bank Research.