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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

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.

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