Frankfurt airport grinds to a halt as storms hit Germany

Passengers have been left stranded as Frankfurt airport suspended all flights due to an approaching storm on Thursday, while the North Sea coastline is bracing itself for a potential hurricane.

Frankfurt airport grinds to a halt as storms hit Germany
Storms over Frankfurt saw flights grind to a halt at the city's airport on Thursday. Photo: DPA

Frankfurt airport ground to a halt for a second time in a week on Thursday, as an approaching storm front forced authorities to suspend all flights. 

All take-offs and landings were briefly suspended  on Thursday afternoon due to storms sweeping over Germany from the West.

Some planes stayed in the air until the storm had passed, a spokesperson for airport authorities said, adding that this was normal procedure in such weather conditions.

Activity on the ground was suspended due to the danger of lightning strikes on the airfield.

With the threat of flight cancellations looming over many passengers, Lufthansa moved swiftly to book up 3,000 hotel rooms. The airline estimated that around 40 flights and 6,000 passengers could be affected by the storms.

The Frankfurt fire service have also warned of severe winds in forest and parkland near and in the city.

The storm front which has been building over northern France could build into a hurricane which would reach Germany by Friday morning, Bild reported, with some models predicting winds of up to 150 km/h.

Meteorologist Dominik Jung from told Bild that, even under more moderate predictions, the North Sea coast could see winds of 120 or 130 km/h, which would be classified as a hurricane on the Beaufort scale.

Storms are also set to hit the rest of the country, with the German Weather Service issuing warnings for North-Rhine Westphalia on Thursday.

“Streets could become flooded”, a DWD spokesperson said in Essen, and also warned of falling trees, hail and heavy rains.

Showers are predicted for the north and northwest at the weekend, as the long heatwave begins to abate in the coming days. While highs of 30 degrees will still be reached, the DWD said, there will not be another extended heatwave this summer.

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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.