When was Germany’s coldest winter?

Germany is in the grip of a cold snap, bringing much of the country to a standstill. These are the years that the country has experienced the worst winters.

When was Germany's coldest winter?
People using skis in Leipzig on Monday during a snow storm. Photo: DPA

Heavy snowfall and freezing rain caused traffic chaos at the weekend – and it's still resulting in serious disruption on Monday.

The extreme weather is down to an area of low pressure dubbed “Tristan” which currently has large parts of central and northern Germany in its grip.

It may be a bit of shock for German residents compared to recent years: the last two winters in Germany were comparatively mild.

But now the country is experiencing a cold spell again, with lots of snowfall and temperatures way below zero.

In a historical comparison, however, the winter of 2020/21 has so far been fairly mild compared to other years, as the Statista graphic based on data from the German Weather Service (DWD) shows.

Germany experienced its coldest winter since weather records began in 1962/63, when the average temperature nationwide from December to February was -5.5C.

The second coldest winter occurred in 1940 during the Second World War, with an average of -5.0C. The winters of recent years do not come close to these freezing records. The last time Germany experienced a particularly frosty winter was in 1984/85 (-2.5C).

READ ALSO: Germany braces for more snow as extreme winter weather causes chaos

Graph translated by Statista for The Local Germany.

In fact, in general winters in Germany have been getting warmer due to climate change.

According to the DWD, the average temperature across Germany was 3C in December 2020 and 0.6C in January 2021. Both values were above the average for the period from 1961 to 1990.

Of course we still have to see what the rest of February holds – and with freezing weather forecast for the rest of the week at least, things are not looking good. But we'll see how that compares historically once the cold snap is over.

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Germany set for scorching temperatures up to 30C

After days of summery weather, temperatures in Germany are set to peak at around 30C this week before a cooler spell over the weekend.

Germany set for scorching temperatures up to 30C

After a long spell of sunny weather, most parts of Germany could see summer arrive early this week with clear blue skies and sweltering temperatures – but the hot weather may not last long, according to meteorologists.

Heat and sunshine should last through the middle of the week but suddenly give way to cooler temperatures over the weekend, the German Weather Service (DWD) predicts.

On Tuesday, most regions see temperatures in the mid to high 20s and a continuation of the dry weather of the past week. In the northeast, including Berlin, the mercury could reach 28C, and temperatures are likely to be between 22C and 28C across western and central areas.

Those in higher altitude regions of the south and those along the north coast should be the only people needing their rain jackets as this part of the country could see scattered showers and clouds, according to DWD.

Wednesday is the day to plan a lake trip as this is likely to be the hottest day of the week. 

Most parts of the country will stay sunny and dry throughout the day and people can expect summery temperatures of between 24C and 30C.

For those on the north coast, it’s likely to be a little chillier, with temperatures of around 15C and partly overcast skies.

Thursday and Friday are likely to bring with them cooler temperatures, with the hot spell giving way to scattered showers and clouds in many regions over the weekend.

On Saturday, southern regions will see highs up of up to 23C while the northern regions will slip down to 18C during the day.

But anyone planning to be out and about on Saturday evening in the south should bring a warm jacket as the mercury could drop as low as 4C. 

Sunny weather Standbad Lübars

A woman enjoys the warm weather at Standbad Lübars in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Britta Pedersen

Northern regions ‘too dry’ 

Though most people have been thrilled to see a warm burst of sunshine in the middle of spring, climate experts have been voicing concern about the uneven rainfall across the country.

In an analysis published on the DWD website, the meteorologists claimed that the northern and eastern parts of Germany have been “clearly too dry” in the past weeks.

“A first glance at the current map already reveals that the regional differences of April have continued in May,” they wrote. “In almost all regions of the northern half and in some parts of the centre, hardly more than 10 and in many places not even 5 litres of rain per square-metre fell in the first days of May.”

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How the climate crisis is hitting Europe hard

Though experts had predicted low rainfall, the first 10 days of May have been even drier than predicted.

The lack of rainfall has caused groundwater to dry up significantly, sparking fears of forest fires and drought over summer.

Though more rainfall could come at the end of May, the Weather Channel’s Jan Schenk believes the probability of an overly dry summer is now “very high”.

Schenk believes that predictions for rainfall could have overestimated the amount of precipitation by up to 50 litres per square metre in some areas. This is a reason for households to start saving water now, he told HNA