Stormy weekend ahead

Severe weather will hit the country over the weekend, the German Weather Service (DWD) said on Friday. Storms will hammer the country with heavy winds and sustained rainfall and even hailstorms in some regions.

Stormy weekend ahead
Photo: DPA

“The south and southwest must be aware of storms with the potential for severe weather on Saturday,” said DWD meteorologist Dorothea Paetzoldl in a statement, “but truly extreme weather will arrive on Sunday.”

“A low-pressure system moving over France will push damp Mediterranean air into the south and southwest and people will be able to ‘smell’ storms brewing in the stifling humidity.”

This will bring sustained rainfall and heavy gales everywhere in Germany apart from regions north and east of the Elbe river, and the wet weather is expected to continue and noticeably cool the air next week.

Friday’s skies will remain bright and cheery in most of the country but afternoon storms are possible in southern regions, especially near the Black Forest, the Swabian mountains and the Bavarian woodlands.

Temperatures will climb to between 22 and 27 degrees in most areas, while the Danube valley and coastal regions will reach only 20 and 18 degrees, respectively, cooled by light winds from the northeast.

Showers are possible in the south on Friday night, while the rest of the country will remain clear and cool at between 9 and 16 degrees.

The north will remain dry and sunny most of the day on Saturday, but afternoon clouds could bring showers and, in some regions, thunderstorms accompanied by heavy winds and hail.

Click here for The Local’s weather forecast.

Coastal regions will see highs of 21 degrees, while the rest of the country will stay balmy and humid at between 23 and 29 degrees.

Saturday night will see clear skies in the north and east, but with regional potential for showers and storms. Temperatures will drop to 16 degrees in the southwest and 9 degrees in the north.

Sunday will be mostly sunny and dry in the north and northwest, but clouds developing around midday will produce showers and, in some regions, extreme weather in the form of heavy gales and hail.

Moderate northwesterly winds will keep temperatures at around 20 degrees in coastal regions and 22 degrees in the northwest, while thermometers in the east could climb to a sultry 30 degrees.

Showers and thunderstorms will be widespread on Sunday night, with temperatures between 11 and 18 degrees.

The heavy rain will subside, for the most part, by Monday, though cloud cover in the west could bring storms in the afternoon. Temperatures will remain between 20 and 28 degrees.

The showers and storms will continue into Monday night, with the air cooling to between 11 and 16 degrees across the country.

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Reader question: Is it ever too hot to work from home in Germany?

Germany has regulations on working during a heatwave - but does that also apply to people who work remotely? We take a look.

Reader question: Is it ever too hot to work from home in Germany?

The number of people working from home shot up during the Covid pandemic, and though employees no longer have the right to work remotely by law, many have chosen to stick with more flexible arrangements and set up a home office at least part of the week.

This is great news for people who enjoy a lie-in more than a long commute, but there are some downsides. One major issue is that it’s not always clear how Germany’s strict employee protection rules actually apply in a home setting. The rules for working during a heatwave are a good example of this.

How does Germany regulate working in extreme heat? 

By law in Germany, employers are responsible for creating a safe environment for their workers. This means that they should try and keep the temperature below 26C at all times and are legally obliged to take action if the temperature goes above 30C. 

That could include putting blinds on the windows to prevent the glare of the sun, installing air conditioning systems or purchasing fans. In some cases – such as outdoor manual labour – it could also involve starting and finishing earlier in the day. 

And in really high temperatures, employers may simply decide to call the whole thing off and give their employees a ‘hitzefrei’ day – basically a heat-induced day off – to go and cool down in a lake. However, business owners are generally given free rein to decide how hot is too hot in this instance (except in the case of vulnerable workers). 

READ ALSO: Hitzefrei: Is it ever legally too hot to go to work or school in Germany?

Do the heat rules apply to ‘home office?’

Unfortunately not. In most cases in Germany, the company isn’t directly involved in setting up the workspace for an employee that works from home, aside from possibly providing a laptop or phone for remote use. 

“The occupational health and safety regulations regarding room temperature do not apply in this case,” labour law expert Meike Brecklinghaus told German business publication T3N. “This is because the employer does not have direct access to the employee’s workplace and in this respect cannot take remedial action.”

That means that on hot days, it’s the employee’s own responsibility to make sure the environment is suitable for working in. 

woman works from home in Germany

A woman works in her living room at home. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Daniel Naupold

One duty employers do have, however, is to instruct their workers about the best way to set up a healthy work environment at home, for example by giving guidance on how to regulate the temperature. 

“In the end, it is the employee’s responsibility to maintain his or her workplace in a condition in which he or she can perform his or her work without the threat of health impairments,” Brecklinghaus explained.

What can home office workers do in hot weather?

There are plenty of ways to keep flats cooler in the summer months, including purchasing your own fan, keeping curtains or blinds drawn and ventilating the rooms in the evening or early morning when the weather is cooler.

However, if heat is really becoming a problem, it’s a good idea to communicate this to your employer. This is especially important if you have a health condition that makes it more dangerous to work in hot weather. 

In some cases, you might be able to negotiate for the employer to pay for the purchase of a fan or mobile air conditioner as goodwill gesture. If possible, you could also arrange to travel to the office where the temperature should be better regulated.

Another option for early birds or night owls is to arrange more flexible working hours so you can avoid sweltering at your desk in the midday sun, although this of course depends on operational factors. 

READ ASO: Jobs in Germany: Should foreign workers join a union?