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WEATHER

Spring in February? Weekend temperatures as high as 15°C to hit Germany

One of the mildest German winters in recent memory may be already over. Temperatures are expected to rise in the coming days, with spring-like weather forecast for much of the west and north of the country.

Spring in February? Weekend temperatures as high as 15°C to hit Germany
A couple walks along the Main river in Frankfurt. Photo: DPA

Despite predictions in November that many parts of Germany may be on track for a cold winter, it appears that the chilliest days may already be over. 

Right in the middle of February, weather forecasters have predicted a steady rise in temperatures in the lead-up to the weekend.

Predictions are for a spring-like 11 to 12 degrees Celcius across much of the country in the lead up to the weekend, with some areas expecting highs of 15 degrees Celcius. 

Germans can thank an influx of sub-tropical air for the phenomenon, which should warm most of the southwest, west and north of the country. 

The German Weather Service (DWD) asked in a tweet if a 'spring awakening' was around the corner, following a Spiegel Online article stating that 'the spring comes early' this weekend.

While some of the warmer areas will remain covered in cloud, the sun is predicted to shine in Hesse and northern Bavaria, as well as for several areas across the Ruhr region. These regions are expected to have the highest variance, with evening temperatures forecast to drop as low as 0 degrees. 

Although much of the country is expected to warm up over the coming days, for many Germans it might not be time to put that winter jacket in storage just yet.

The subtropical air will not reach much of the south of the country. Temperatures are expected to remain chilly, particularly at night where lows of 0 to -5 are forecast. Typical February weather will still be seen in the Black Forest and the Alps, where lows of -10 are expected. 

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The meteorological spring begins in two weeks on March 1st, while the March Equinox starts three weeks later on the March 20th. 

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WEATHER

Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine

A stranded cargo ship caused traffic to be halted Wednesday at the Rhine river in western Germany after suffering a technical fault, authorities said, at a time when water transport was already ailing from a drought.

Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine

The vessel is stuck at St. Goar and Oberwesel, in between the cities of Mainz and Koblenz, water police said, adding that they were expecting to clear the stricken ship within the day.

The machine damage came as water levels in the Rhine had dropped to critical points at several locations, including at nearby Kaub — a known bottleneck for shipping where the river runs narrow and shallow.

The gauge at Kaub stood at 34 cm (13 inches) on Wednesday, well below the 40-cm reference point.

While vessels are still able to navigate at low water levels, they are forced to reduce their loads to avoid the risk of running aground.

About four percent of freight is transported on waterways in Germany, including on the Rhine, which originates in Switzerland and runs through several countries including France and Germany before flowing into the sea in the Netherlands.

READ ALSO: How the Rhine’s low water levels are impacting Germany

Transport on the Rhine has gained significance in recent months because among cargo moved on the river is coal, now all the more necessary as Germany seeks to wean itself off Russian gas.

Germany’s biggest companies have already warned that major disruptions to river traffic could deal another blow to an economy already beset by logistical difficulties.

The 2018 drought, which saw the benchmark depth of the Rhine in Kaub drop to 25 cm in October, shrank German GDP by 0.2 percent that year, according to Deutsche Bank Research.

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