Thunderstorms and hail herald summer’s end

Thunder, lightning and hail are set to sweep across Germany on Friday, bringing a stormy end to summer as a cold front causes temperatures to plunge.

Thunderstorms and hail herald summer’s end
Photo: DPA

“The hot days are numbered. Probably the longest heat wave this summer is drawing to an end tomorrow, Friday,” said German Weather Service (DWD) meteorologist Christian Herold. “At the weekend, autumn has arrived.”

Thursday afternoon will be mostly warm and dry, with cloud cover possible in western Germany. Bayern will enjoy the warmest weather of summer’s last gasp, with temperatures in the south ranging from 28 to 33 degrees Celsius. Highs in other parts of the country will be between 23 and 29 degrees, with markedly cooler temperatures along the coast.

In the evening, however, thunderstorms are expected to develop in the west and move northeast, at times intensifying into severe weather, the DWD said. Elsewhere it will remain clear.

Click here for The Local’s weather forecast.

Friday morning will offer sunny skies and perhaps a few clouds, reaching 30 to 34 degrees in eastern Germany and 28 in the west. As the day progresses, however, thunderstorms, rain showers, hail and squalls may develop, with wind predominately out of the south and west. Overnight, strong thunderstorms will expand eastwards, with temperatures sinking as low as 13 degrees.

Saturday morning will bring more rain in eastern Germany. Otherwise, it will be cloudy with additional showers and thunder storms in western and northern Germany. Highs will be between 18 and 24 degrees. In the north, cool wind and squalls are possible on the coast.

On Sunday, northern Germany can expect clouds mixed with scattered showers and dry intervals. In the south, it will remain warm and mostly dry, though cloud cover is possible. Temperatures will top out at 19 degrees in the north and 24 in the south.

Next week will also show the beginning signs of autumn, the DWD said, with cool evenings, morning fog, showers and highs less than 20 degrees.

“Is the summer over then? It is to be feared,” said DWD meteorologist Martin Jonas. “The sun has markedly less strength than in June, there’d have to be an intense south to southwest airflow and warm air at high altitudes would be necessary — all of this is not in sight.”

The Local/emh

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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.