Stormy weather to keep volcanic ash at bay

The cool and rainy weather this week might be a lousy start to May, but it does have the advantage of keeping German skies free from the volcanic ash currently crippling Irish air traffic.

Stormy weather to keep volcanic ash at bay
Photo: DPA

Andreas Friedrich, a meteorologist for the German Weather Service (DWD), said on Tuesday that the low pressure system “Ulrike” was likely to keep more ash spewing from a volcano in Iceland from impacting flights in German airspace. Airports in Ireland and parts of Scotland temporarily closed down on Monday evening amid renewed safety concerns that grounded air travel across Europe last month.

Friedrich said “Ulrike” will keep German skies safe until at least the weekend, but it will also bring plenty of rain from the Mediterranean.

Tuesday will remain cloudy and cool across most of Germany, with showers expected in the south in the evening. Temperatures will reach only nine degrees Celsius on the coast, with brisk wind expected. The rest of the country will see highs of 10 to 15 degrees.

Overnight there could even be frost as temps drop to zero to four degrees. Meanwhile the south will have lows of three to seven degrees.

On Wednesday, the north will see some sunshine and remain mostly dry. But the southern regions will experience showers and the Alps could see scattered thunder storms. Temperatures will range between 11 and 15 degrees, though the coast will remain cooler and windy around 10 degrees. Higher altitudes in the Black Forest and the Alps might also experience gusty winds.

The rain will continue in the south on Thursday, but the northwestern part of the country is expected to remain dry. Highs will hit 11 to 16 degrees and the overnight lows won’t be quite so frosty at three to nine degrees.

The DWD said the weekend could see the return of temperatures more typical for May, with highs edging towards the 20-degree mark.

Click here for The Local’s weather forecast.

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Europe facing record year for wildfire destruction: 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.

Europe facing record year for wildfire destruction: 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.