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WEATHER

Germany records hottest year in over a century

Germany recorded its warmest year in 2018, a period also marked by a drought lasting months, the country's DWD weather service said Tuesday.

Germany records hottest year in over a century
A drought in 2018 caused losses in wheat crops throughout Germany. Pictured is Leitzkau in Saxony-Anhalt/

The average temperatures for the year reached 10.5 degree Celsius, a new record high, the DWD said in a statement.

“It was the warmest year in the 138-year temperature records of the national weather service,” the service said.

The number of days when temperatures reached 30 degrees and above also hit a record 20, a day more than in 2003.

SEE ALSO: Spring in February? Weekend temperatures as high as 15C to hit Germany

The number of summer days — defined as when temperatures are 25 degrees and above — also reached a record 74, 12 more than in 2003.

“Such a hot summer is linked to heightened pressures and therefore health hazards for sensitive people,” the DWD's climate scientist Thomas Deutschlaender warned.

Months of scarce rainfall and hot sunny weather last year had wreaked havoc on crops.

Water traffic including on the Rhine was also crippled as water levels plunged, forcing ship operators to suspend services to keep vessels from running aground.

SEE ALSO: 'We need intense rainfall': Drought cripples crucial German waterways

The extraordinary weather last year had been seized on by many climate activists to push Germany to hold fast to its pledge to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels.

But in its latest annual climate protection report published in June, the government admitted that it was now expecting to achieve 32 percent in reductions compared to 1990.

According to the UN, the last four years were the hottest since global temperature records began, calling it a “clear sign of continuing long-term climate change”.

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WEATHER

Germany on alert for heavy thunderstorms

Many parts of Germany were on alert on Friday as a deluge of rain, hail and storms were forecast.

Germany on alert for heavy thunderstorms

The German Weather Service (DWD) issued an orange level-three storm warning across a large part of the country on Friday. 

Forecasters said isolated thunderstorms were expected early in the day, mainly affecting a strip from the Mosel and Main rivers to the Erzgebirge region.

From noon, the situation was set to get worse.

The DWD predicted “heavy thunderstorms spreading to NRW (North Rhine-Westphalia) and Rhineland-Palatinate with increased risk of severe weather”.

Forecasters said “extremely heavy rainfall of around 40 litres per square metre” was expected in a short time in some areas as well as “large hailstones of up to five centimetres and gale-force winds with speeds of between 100 and 130 kilometres per hour”.

The German Weather Service (DWD) storm warnings on Friday morning.

The German Weather Service (DWD) storm warnings on Friday morning. Screenshot: German Weather Service

The DWD said isolated tornadoes were not being ruled out.

On Friday afternoon, the thunderstorms were set to move further eastwards, and in the evening there could also be severe storms in the south of the country with the potential for heavy rain and hail.

Temperatures on Friday in Germany will range between 20C at the coast, up to 27C in the centre and a very muggy 34C on the Upper Rhine.

A storm in Stuttgart.

A storm in Stuttgart. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Andreas Rosar Fotoagentur-Stuttgart

Storms in western Germany

Heavy thunderstorms moved across western Germany on Thursday, but the damage was less severe than feared.

READ ALSO: Weather – Germany braces for ‘extreme storms’

However, there was disruption to travel, including on train services from Germany to the Netherlands. Late in the evening, Deutsche Bahn reported that international long-distance trains between Amsterdam, Cologne and Frankfurt were running again without restrictions.

On the line between Cologne and Wuppertal, delays and cancellations were also expected on Friday. Long-distance lines were also affected, Deutsche Bahn said. 

There was also heavy rainfall. In Hamburg, a flooded underground car park had to be pumped out by emergency services. 

Meanwhile, a lightning strike sparked a roof fire in Zellingen near Würzburg. The family was able to leave their home and nobody was injured.

Flood alerts

The North Rhine-Westphalia State Office for Nature and the Environment warned that localised flooding could occur in areas affected by heavy rain, and water levels could rise significantly on Friday.

Due to the warning of heavy rain and hail, all schools in the Ahrweiler district in Rhineland-Palatinate were to remain closed on Friday.

Residents were urged to keep listening to weather forecasts as well as checking warning apps like Katwarn and Nina. In the Ahr valley, 134 people were killed and thousands of homes destroyed in severe flooding in July 2021. Many people are still living in temporary accommodation.

Overnight and into Saturday, the storms are expected to move east.

The DWD said storms and heavy rainfall was expected around the Danube river. 

Temperatures will fall slightly – on the coast it should reach 14-18C, while it is likely to be around 20-25C elsewhere in Germany.

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