German cold snap: thawing in the west and frosty in the east

While temperatures in western and southern Germany are slowly creeping up, residents in the east and the north shouldn’t put away their long johns and mitts just yet.

German cold snap: thawing in the west and frosty in the east
Icy conditions in Warnemünde by the Baltic Sea on Monday. Photo: DPA

In the small town of Barth along the Baltic Sea, the mercury reached a bitterly cold -17.5C late in the evening on Thursday, according to weather service Kachelmannwetter.

On the other hand, the west and south of the country are starting to see milder temperatures. The mercury in Saarbrücken, the capital of Saarland, went up to -1.4C. Meanwhile in Bonn it was -4C and in Berlin it was -12C.

On Friday the German Weather Service (DWD) predicts maximum temperatures of between -2C and 3C in the west and the south – not quite as cold as the previous days. But in the north it will remain frosty with highs of between -7C and 0C.


Many lakes across the country are frozen over due to the cold spell. A German Lifeguard Service (DLRG) spokesperson advises outdoor ice rink enthusiasts to go out in pairs as accidents have already occurred in the past few days.

In spite of the subzero temperatures, the streets have largely remained clear. “We haven’t have any special operations having to do with the weather,” said a spokesman for the fire department in Stuttgart.

“It's cold, but not slippery,” a spokesperson in Hamburg added, referring to the roadways in the Hanseatic city.

According to the DWD, a low pressure area will cause temperatures to rise in the next few days, meaning that the peak of Germany’s cold spell is forecast to finally let up around the weekend.

In the northern half of the country temperatures on Saturday are predicted to range between -5C and zero. A mixture of snow and freezing rain is expected to fall in the southwest, but by the Baltic Sea it will remain relatively dry, the DWD reports.

By Sunday the south of the country is forecast to be basking in temperatures of up to 11 degrees. The DWD predicted temperatures as high as 5C in the northeast part of the country. Yet was slightly more optimistic, forecasting a high of 6C.


Tornado in western Germany injures dozens

Almost 40 people were injured, several seriously, on Friday in a suspected tornado which hit the western German city of Paderborn, the police and fire brigade said.

Tornado in western Germany injures dozens

A police spokesman said the tornado also caused significant damage in the city in the North Rhine-Westphalia state, following abnormally high temperatures for the time of year.

The city’s fire department said on Twitter that “38 injured people, including some gravely” had been taken to hospital. The police said one person was fighting for their life.

Paderborn, fire service added, “Please do not drive to Paderborn on your own without prior agreement of help. If necessary, further units of the fire brigade will be alerted and called in.”

In neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate state, a 38-year-old man died after he was electrocuted when he entered his flooded basement and fell on his head, the police in the city of Koblenz said.

Railway travel was disrupted in the west of the country, as police called on people to remain indoors.

In Paderborn, police estimated the damage caused by the tornado at “several million” euros.

The spokesman reported “roofs torn off, windows shattered and numerous trees uprooted throughout the city”.

View of destroyed cars on a street. A tornado caused massive damage in Paderborn and Lippstadt on Friday 20th May 2022.

View of destroyed cars on a street after a tornado caused massive damage in Paderborn and Lippstadt on Friday 20th May 2022. Photo: Picture Alliance/Dpa/Friso Gentsch

Images posted on social media showed the tornado column progressing towards homes, sweeping away trees and building sections. Other pictures from the wider region showed cars that had been upturned.

The town of Lippstadt, about 30 kilometres away (18 miles), was also probably hit by a tornado, a fire department spokesperson said, though no injuries had been recorded. The steeple of the church in Lippstadt had been destroyed by the high winds.

People stand in front of the St. Clemens Catholic Church in Hellinghausen near Lippstadt, the top of which was destroyed. A suspected tornado caused massive damage in Lippstadt on Friday 21st May 2022. Photo: Picture alliance/DPA/Friso Gentsch

German meteorological services had put out a storm warning for Friday and predicted gales of up to 130 km/h (80 miles/h) in some places.

The bad weather first hit the west of the country and was set to travel eastwards.