Germany on alert as snowfall and storms batter the country

Germany is on alert for stormy weather as gale-force winds and snow hit the country.

Germany on alert as snowfall and storms batter the country
A truck clears snow at Spitzingsee in Bavaria on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

The German Weather Service (DWD) issued a warning Tuesday for most parts of Germany, with forecasts of strong gusts, rain and snow.

Meteorologists said the storm, dubbed Benjamin, had been travelling from the North Sea across the Baltic Sea to Poland during the course of the day.

It came as some schools in Bavaria remained closed as the south of Germany battled extreme snowfall, and snow showers are moving northwards.

On Tuesday red alert weather warnings were due to be in place until Friday morning in 27 districts in the south of Germany, due to massive snowfall reported Focus Online.

In the Bavarian Alps there is also an increased risk of avalanches. Bild reported that the Brauneck ski area near Lenggries had to be closed because there was too much snow.

As we reported on Monday, the Bavarian avalanche warning service said it had boosted the alert level to four on a scale of five, warning of a “great danger of avalanches in the mountain range” following deaths. 

SEE ALSO: Germany raises avalanche alert after ski deaths

Forecasters say it's likely snowfall in southern Bavaria will continue over the coming days.

Strong gusts

The storm was expected to hit parts of the coasts of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein as well as in Hamburg, Bremen and Bremerhaven. A warning of high winds was also in place for the capital Berlin.

An orange weather warning was in place for much of the country due to strong winds and rain, which may also turn to snow.

The DWD said gusts of up to 85 km/h could be expected in Berlin, according to the Berliner Morgenpost.

In the Marzahn area of the city at noon, parts of the facade of a high rise building came loose. People have been warned to look out for falling branches and similar dangers. 

Fire and rescue crews arrived to secure the building in Marzahn. Nobody was injured, the Morgenpost reported.

A woman with an umbrella in Berlin on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Train operator Deutsche Bahn warned of possible disruption due to the unpredictable weather and urged passengers to check for information before they travel.

After a warning from the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency, residents living near the North Sea and Baltic Sea coasts prepared for the storm.

On Tuesday, ferry services were disrupted due to the weather. In Lower Saxony all ferries to and from Wangerooge were due to be cancelled. The connection between Cuxhaven and the island of Helgoland was also stopped.

Meanwhile, in Hamburg, and other northern cities and towns, authorities were braced for the possibility of flooding as rain continued to fall amid high winds. 

Water floods an area at Willy-Brandt-Platz in Bremerhaven. Photo: DPA

More snow expected

As well as the southern part of Germany, snow was expected in other regions in the coming days. In the capital Berlin snowfall was expected from around 7 p.m. Tuesday. 

At the top of Brocken in Saxony-Anhalt, the highest mountain in Northern Germany which stands at 1141 meters, there was more than 75 centimeters of snow, a local weather station said on Tuesday morning. More snow is expected in Saxony-Anhalt.

Snowfall is also expected in the Black Forest in Badem-Württemberg and the Ore Mountains in Saxony. There will also likely be snow in the lowlands of Saxony as well as other locations. 

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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.