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WEATHER

Winter’s weekend return to banish balmy temps

Germany might have had a balmy start to the new year, but winter is set to make a comeback this weekend with sinking temperatures and light snow, according to the DWD national weather service.

Winter's weekend return to banish balmy temps
Photo: DPA

With cloudy skies and temperatures reaching seven degrees Celsius in the Upper Rhine region, Thursday should see the last of the unusually warm weather. But hilly regions should show signs of winter, as a light frost may develop.

As Thursday night gets underway, rain or sleet is forecast to fall across parts of the south and almost all of Germany’s eastern states. Everywhere else should remain dry with a scattering of clouds and temperatures with lows of minus three in the north east and three degrees in the southeast.

“We are as far from being hit with Siberian temperatures as we are from being hit by snow chaos,” meteorologist Martin Jonas from the DWD said on Thursday. But he added that, “the weather will be more ‘normal’ for January.”

Friday may see the first snow proper snow flurries of 2013 towards the Baltic coast. Elsewhere will likely just be wet though, as temperatures of between one and five degrees Celsius mean that it may be slightly too warm to snow.

Click here for The Local’s weather forecast

But the DWD said temperatures would drop sharply come Friday night, as thermometers plummet to between minus one and minus six degrees. In areas unlucky enough not to have a warming blanket of clouds, it could be even colder.

People in Germany’s southern states on Saturday should find themselves waking up to very heavy cloud cover, which may even produce a few snowflakes through the course of the day. In the north it should be sunnier and in the east, snowy. Highs will be a chilly minus three in the east and one degrees in the south west.

Saturday night should continue in the same vain of half-hearted, intermittent snow and sub-zero temperatures. The north west is set for a particularly brisk night, with lows of -10 degrees Celsius possible.

For the parts of the north west, the cold night should give way to a clear, crisp Sunday. Lower areas of the south may be plagued with rain while higher areas treated to snow. Apart from a few warm pockets in the southwest, most of country should remain between minus three and zero degrees.

Heading into next week, Sunday night in southern Germany will likely still be in limbo between rain and snow and temperatures of around minus one degrees. The north should stay clear where temperatures could hit minus seven degrees.

The Local/jcw

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WILDFIRES

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.

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