The east will be particularly cold over the weekend, German Weather Service DWD said on Friday.
Huge flocks of migratory birds, such as cranes, lapwings and golden plovers, have been returning to Germany over the last couple of weeks after spending the winter in warmer climes. Many of them have now turned around and left thanks to the cold weather.
A lack of food was driving the birds out of the country, Matthias Werner from the national ornithological institute said on Thursday. Hundreds of them made a brief stop-over in northern Hesse, he added.
There remained a few stubborn cranes around the country though, which Werner said, “were hardy creatures” able to tolerate a lot.
For Germany's non-migrating human population, the DWD has forecast a string of sub-zero nights with Friday night bringing snow and rain across the west of the country. The east will stay mostly clear and very cold with lows plummeting to -11C. The west should remain around 0C.
Nighttime snow and rain will continue through Saturday in the western states and clouds will begin gathering over the previously clear east where it should remain dry nevertheless. Highs of -1C in the east and hilly areas and 9C in the Upper Rhine region are expected.
Rain and sleet will continue to plague the west of the country during Saturday night, falling in higher areas as thick snow. In the east it should be cloudy but dry and in the south east, clear. That is where it will be especially chilly with lows of -7C. The west should have warmer highs of 4C.
Sunday should signal a much drier day for the eastern states and around the Alps but sadly for those in the west hoping to celebrate St. Patrick's day outside, will still be rainy and cloudy. Temperatures could begin to pick up, with highs of 9C in the south west and 3C in the north.
Snow will probably begin falling again on Sunday night in the north east. Western states will be drizzly and cloudy with temperatures as high of 4C. More realistic are highs of 0C for the whole country and lows of -3C.
Heavy cloud cover will dominate most of Germany come Monday, with possible snow in the north. DWD has forecast highs of 10C in the west and 2C in the north east.