‘Tropical’ heat predicted after storms bring floods and mudslides

Following severe storms and flooded roads and basements in several German regions on Sunday, the country is forecast to get tropical-like weather this week.

'Tropical' heat predicted after storms bring floods and mudslides
Flooding in Herrstein, Rhineland-Palatinate on Sunday. Photo: DPA

Northern and western Hesse, the southwest of Rhineland-Palatinate and the Vogtland region in Saxony were particularly affected by the storms late in the day on Sunday.

In northern Hesse, local fire brigades reported a significant amount mud and hail which had seeped into houses. The hail flooded under doors and through windows, even filling up some basements. Heavy equipment was used to remove mud and debris from the roads.

Flooding in Rhineland-Palatinate on Sunday. Photo: DPA

The police in southern Rhineland-Palatinate responded to emergency calls in two municipalities which were hardest hit by the severe weather: Fischbach and Herrstein. “Several villages are completely flooded,” said a police spokesman, adding that the water was metres high in some areas.

The authorities in Herrstein reported that a 1.6-metre flood wave had swept through the district. In Fischbach, cars were carried away due to the floods.

In the Vogtland region, the torrential rainfall on Sunday meant that cellars were flooded with water. Lightning also struck a 70-year-old barn which housed several vintage cars. Last week the area also saw heavy storms which had flooded railways and roads.

Even air traffic was affected due to Sunday’s severe storms.

At Frankfurt Airport, several flights were cancelled in the evening. 66 take-offs and landings were struck off, according to a spokesman at Germany’s largest airport. Whether or not this was exclusively due to the thunderstorms could not initially be confirmed.

Lightning strikes in Bad Homburg in Hesse on Sunday. Photo: DPA

In North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), two young women were struck by lightning near Bochum. One of the women is in critical condition after being resuscitated on Sunday evening, according to firefighters.

NRW residents will again have to brace themselves for heavy thunderstorms. A spokesperson for the German Weather Service (DWD) said on Monday morning that storms are to be expected from the early afternoon onward.

Temperatures similar to those typically enjoyed in the tropics are forecast for Germany this week; the north of the country is predicted to get the highest temperatures, with the mercury set to up to 33C locally.

“That is impressive for the end of May,” said meteorologist Thomas Ruppert, adding that combined with the humidity, the weather in Germany will get a “slightly tropical coating.”

Highs into the 30s were also seen in parts of Germany last month, which was the hottest April ever recorded in the country.

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‘Clear indication of climate change’: Germany logs warmest year on record

Looking at data from 2,000 measuring systems around Germany, the German Weather Service (DWD) said that 2022 marked the warmest year on record through November.

'Clear indication of climate change': Germany logs warmest year on record

“Never since 1881 has the period from January to November in Germany been so warm as in 2022,” said DWD spokesman Uwe Kirsche in a statement on Wednesday.

The average temperature for the first eleven months of 2022 was 11.3C, according to the weather service in Offenbach. The previous high was set in 2020, at 11.1C for this period. 

The temperature average for autumn alone was 10.8 degrees – an entire 2C degrees higher than it was between 1961 to 1990, which is used by meteorologists around the globe as a point of reference. 

Clear indication of climate change

The period from January to October was already the warmest on record, with an average temperature of 11.8C. For meteorologists, autumn ends with November, whereas in calendar terms, it lasts until December 21st. 

It is “a clear indication of climate change;” that the warmest October months of the last 140 years all fall in this millennium, said DWD.

READ ALSO: ‘A glimpse into our climate future’: Germany logs warmest October on record

Autumn 2022 could have easily been mistaken for summer in some regions of Germany, it said. The mercury reached the highest in Kleve on the Lower Rhine on September 5th, where temperatures soared to a sizzling 32.3C.

weather Germany september

Beach goers in Westerland, Schleswig-Holstein on September 25th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Molter

Rainy regions

The mild weather extended into November, before temperatures took a dramatic dip in many parts of the country. 

In the Oberharz am Brocken, the mercury dropped all the way to -11.6C on November 20th, the nationwide low for this autumn.

READ ALSO: Germany to see first snowfall after mild November

But despite the early warm spells, autumn was also “slightly wetter than average,” according to DWD. An average of around 205 liters of precipitation per squar metre fell across Germany.

That was about twelve percent more than in the reference period from 1961 to 1990. Compared to 1991 to 2020, the increase was about eight percent.

The Black Forest and the Alps received the most rainfall. Utzenfeld in the southern Black Forest had the highest daily precipitation in Germany with 86 litres per square meter on October 14th. In contrast, it remained very dry in the northeast. 

However, there were also a fair few bright, sunny days for people to enjoy. According to DWD, the sun shone for a good 370 hours this autumn – almost 20 percent more than in the period from 1961 to 1990 and 15 percent more than in the period from 1991 to 2020.

The North German Lowlands saw the most sun, with residents there getting a solid 400 hours of sunshine over autumn. 

Temperatures to drop this week

Just in time for the start of the meteorological winter on December 1st, temperatures will drop significantly into the low negatives in many parts of the country.

On the weekend, there is a risk of permafrost in some regions of eastern Germany. The nights will also become increasingly frosty, with snow expected in many regions by the end of the week.

Roads are expected to turn icy, but with no major snowstorms, said DWD.

READ ALSO: Will Germany see more snow this winter?