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Did Germany have its hottest July ever?

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Did Germany have its hottest July ever?
A bather jumping into the Ammersee in Utting, Bavaria, during the July heatwave. Photo: DPA
14:35 CEST+02:00
It's been a sweltering July with the hottest ever temperature recorded in Lower Saxony. But how does the month compare to previous years?
Thanks to a heatwave that swept through Europe, July has been a very sweaty month in Germany, that's for sure.
 
But the German Weather Service (DWD) says although there were record-breaking temperatures, it's not been the hottest month ever. 
 
The average temperature of the month is 18.9C. That's about 2C above the long-term average, but forecasters say there have been hotter Julys in the past.
 
Andreas Friedrich of the DWD said in Germany there were even higher average temperatures in the month of July in the years 2003 and 2015 for instance. 
 
But July did smash some records: the hottest ever temperature since records began - 42.6C - was recorded in Lingen, Lower Saxony, on July 25th during a European-wide heatwave.
 
In fact, there were three days in a row that temperatures of 40C and above were measured in Germany, and six states broke their own previous heat records. 
 
The highest temperature was 2.1C higher than the one recorded in Geilenkirchen in North Rhine-Westphalia just a day before on June 24th. 
 
The previous record before that was 40.3C recorded in Kitzingen, Bavaria, in 2015.
 
Friedrich said the month will still go down in the "meteorological history books" due to the heatwave. 
 
So why is July not the hottest month ever? Well, let's not forget that the start of the month was cool and dull before it got extremely hot. 
 
That brought down the monthly average in the overall calculation, said Friedrich.
 
 
A bather jumps into an outdoor pool in the late evening sun in Bielefeld. Photo: DPA
 
'Catastrophic proportions'
 
July was also too dry, according to the DWD.
 
According to forecasters, the drought reached "catastrophic proportions". At around 55 litres per square metre, July was 31 percent short of its rainfall target.
 
"In numerous places throughout Germany, only a quarter or even a fifth of the rainfall target fell," said Friedrich, indicating how serious the lack of rainfall is in the Bundesrepublik. 
 
Forests in particular are struggling because not enough water is penetrating the deep layers of earth around trees, experts said. 
 
It has certainly been a sunny month: July had about 235 hours of sunshine - that was 13 percent above the expected amount. The sun was most visible in the small western German state of Saarland, which had more than 310 hours locally, the least in the North Sea region which had less than 170 hours.
 
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