Dozens of seal pups missing after hurricane

UPDATE: While hurricane Xaver did not tear up Germany as much as expected, it did destroy large stretches of dunes and on one island 47 seal pups are missing.

Dozens of seal pups missing after hurricane
Photo: DPA

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The island of Helgoland in the North Sea was home to 141 seal pups, 47 of which are missing since Xaver hit on Thursday. They are not expected to survive without their mothers.

Their mums are said to be hitching up and down beaches crying out to their lost babies, commissioner for nature protection on Helgoland Rolf Blädel said on Tuesday. “It was depressing,” he said, after making the grim discovery that only 94 of the previously-counted pups could be found.

Five mother seals are also missing, said Blädel, and their pups have been taken to a seal rescue centre on the nearby island of Friedsrichskoog.

CLICK HERE for pictures of remote Helgoland after the hurricane

Over on the Baltic cost, Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania saw 400,000 cubic metres of land blown away by 150 km/h winds last Thursday and Friday, Minister for the Environment Til Backhaus said on Monday. Total damages to the state stand at around €4 million ($5.5 million).

Juist, an island in the North Sea off the Lower Saxony coast, saw 25 metres of dunes blown into the sea, a spokeswoman from the state's coastal protection organization the NLWKN said. This was significantly more than other islands.

The loss was not unexpected, but in comparison to previous storms was “rather severe”, she told the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. Especially when taking other North Sea islands into consideration – Langeoog lost just two to four metres of its 350 metres of dunes.

Hurricane Xaver dislodged 500 cubic metres of debris into dykes in Juist which need to be cleared out.

Juist's mayor Dietmar Patron told the Süddeutsche he was happy Germany received plenty of warning that there was about to be a storm. He said it allowed authorities to pay special attention to harbour areas, to ensure minimal damage was done there.

CLICK HERE for photos of Hurricane Xaver

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What temperatures can we expect in Germany this week?

Parts of Germany will see another heatwave this week as temperatures soar.

What temperatures can we expect in Germany this week?

The German Weather Service (DWD) has predicted that the mercury will climb in some regions of to around 34C this week. 

“After low pressure ‘Karin’ gave parts of Germany rain, sometimes in large quantities, high pressure ‘Piet’ is now back in pole position,” said meteorologist Lars Kirchhübel of the DWD.

This high pressure zone will dominate the weather in large parts of western and central Europe over the coming days, the weather expert said, adding that it will reach Germany too. 

On Monday temperatures remained fairly cool across the country after a weekend of showers, but they are set to climb over the course of the week, particularly on Wednesday and Thursday. Forecasters predict it could reach 32C in Stuttgart and 33C in Cologne on Thursday. Locally, temperatures could reach 34C. 

However, from the Oder and Neisse rivers to the Erzgebirge mountains and southeast Bavaria, denser clouds and some showers are to be expected. This is due to a high-level low pressure system over the Balkan region, according to forecasters. Short showers are also possible in the Black Forest.

“In most of the rest of the country, high ‘Piet’ will be able to hold its ground,” said Kirchhübel.

READ ALSO: Heavy rain in Bavaria swells rivers, but flooding avoided

At the end of the week, thunderstorms are forecast but temperatures are expected to remain high. 

August in Germany ‘too dry’

According to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, August as a whole – apart from a few areas in eastern Germany – will be too dry compared to the multi-year average.

The Black Forest, the High Rhine and the Allgäu to the Bavarian Forest, however, are not expected to have any major problems due to the high rainfall of the past few days.

“Looking at Rhineland-Palatinate, the southern half of Hesse, the western half of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Franconia shows a different picture,” said Kirchhübel. In the last 30 days, only about 10 percent of the usual level of precipitation fell in some places.

“At some stations, no precipitation at all has been measured in August,” added Kirchhübel, referencing Würzburg as an example.

Rainfall at the weekend caused the water in the Rhine river to rise slightly. In Emmerich, the water level reached a positive value again after the historic low of the past few days: in the morning, it showed three centimetres – an increase of six centimetres compared to the previous day.

The water level also rose by several centimetres at the other measuring points in North Rhine-Westphalia: in Cologne, the level rose to 80cm and in Düsseldorf to 38cm.

READ ALSO: Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine

Despite this encouraging trend, the Waterways and Shipping Authority said it did not expect a huge improvement in water levels in the foreseeable future due to more hot weather coming.