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WEATHER

Long winter ‘could cost the country €6 billion’

The long, cold, dark winter could cost Germany up to €6 billion in extra healthcare and lost productivity as people stay away from work sick, a new study suggests.

Long winter 'could cost the country €6 billion'
Photo: DPA

And the construction industry has also been badly hit, with income down by more than ten percent this January compared with last.

The start of 2012 had been particularly good for builders, industry representatives said on Monday but this January was lousy in comparison, with income 10.8 percent down. At least part of this was due to the icy weather which forced many sites to stop work, and others to be delayed.

The continuing cold is costing the entire country due to illness. This January saw 46 percent more flu cases than last January, according to statutory health insurer Kaufmännische Krankenkasse (KKH), tabloid newspaper Bild reported on Monday.

Assuming the rate was similar across the country, that month alone cost the country more than €2 billion in healthcare and missed working days, the paper said.

And because the cold has held – and still has the country in its grip – the costs are likely to continue, reaching €6 billion if things do not warm up before April.

The cold, dark winter is also known to exacerbate depression, which also costs the country dear – and this was the darkest on record.

KKH’s 1.8 million customers took two million sick days due to mental illness during 2012, equating to an estimated 70 million nationwide and projected losses of €17 billion.

Those hoping for a swift end to the recent arctic conditions will be disappointed, as Germany is set to remain influenced by high pressure systems coming in from Scandinavia, the German Weather Service (DWD) said on Monday.

Most areas will remain just below freezing for most of the week, and dry cold air from the east will continue to make it seem colder.

A steady rise in temperatures will be very slow, with some south-eastern areas still experiencing -12C on Tuesday night.

Click here for The Local’s weather forecast

Some areas, particularly in the north, will be fairly sunny, but this will often be broken by snow showers.

Southern and Rhineland regions may even experience warmth, with temperatures in double figures over the Easter weekend, but a cloudy outlook and likelihood of occasional showers could dash hopes of a sudden spring.

The Local/mjl

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WEATHER

Weather: Germany sees extreme heat and storms

An extreme heat warning was in place for eastern Germany on Monday, while storms were also set to hit the country.

Weather: Germany sees extreme heat and storms

The German Weather Service (DWD) said temperatures could reach 36C on Monday. 

In the morning, the DWD issued an extreme heat warning for eastern regions, as shown below in the map. 

Map of Germany shows the heat warning in the east on Monday June 27th.

Photo: German Weather Service (DWD)

Forecasters said later on Monday, the south and east of the country would be hit by thunderstorms as well as large hailstones, strong winds and heavy rain.

READ ALSO: Germany sees record temperatures

In the north, west and centre of Germany, forecasters predicted clouds and some showers. Over the course of Monday, heavy thunderstorms with heavy rain, hailstones and strong winds are also possible in the north.

“Thunderstorms have occurred in the past few days and will continue in the coming days, as the established weather situation will remain virtually unchanged,” said a spokesperson from the DWD. 

However, the large temperature differences are striking: in the west of Germany, the mercury will only reach just above 20C in places.

Overnight to Tuesday, the DWD predicts thunderstorms – some of them heavy – from the Baltic Sea to the Alps, and later there is set to be more showers. It could still reach 28C in some places, especially in the east.

The DWD said: “The risk of thunderstorms will remain in the southern half of the country, while the northern half will calm down after the last thunderstorms have moved to Poland.

“This will change again on Wednesday night, when showers and thunderstorms, some of them thundery, as well as heavy rain will make their way north. On Wednesday, it will be quite unsettled with muggy temperatures almost all over the country.”

Forecasters said the weather will remain changeable for the rest of the week, but it should become more settled from next weekend.

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