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WEATHER

Germany sees heavy snowfall as winter blizzard strikes

Germany is expected to see up to 30cm of fresh snowfall and 90km-per-hour winds on Tuesday evening as Storm Christian sweeps across the southern and western regions of the country.

Father Christmas in the Snow
A man dressed as 'Nikolaus' rides a horse-drawn sleigh through a snowy field in Baden-Württemberg on Tuesday, November 30th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Thomas Warnack

Reporting the weather on Focus, meteorologist Jan Schenk warned that the combination of forceful winds and heavy snow could lead to dangerous conditions in the south of the country over Tuesday evening and into the night. 

“Peak winds in the south will reach 90km-per-hour in the lowlands and hurricane force over the peaks of the Alps,” he said. “This could lead to snow drifts at higher altitudes and at the foot of the Alps.”

In regions lying to the south of Dresden and Saarbrücken, drivers could face challenging conditions such as icy roads, snow drifts and poor visibility, Schenk cautioned. 

On Tuesday afternoon, the German Weather Service (DWD) tweeted a graphic showing estimates of the depth of snow across the country.

The mountainous regions of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Thuringia saw the heaviest snowfall, with a few centimetres falling across the southern lowlands. 

Later on Tuesday, more fresh snow is expected to settle in the Black Forest, Bavarian Forest and alpine regions as the storm continues into the night, while other parts of Bavaria, Thuringia and Baden-Württemberg will see between 5cm and 30cm of fresh snow. 

More northerly regions saw a touch of frost on Tuesday morning, but this turned to sleet and heavy rain throughout the day as temperatures thawed. 

Mild start to December

In the middle of the week, the dramatic snowstorms are likely to give way to damp, windy weather and milder temperatures. In some regions, the mercury could even go into the double digits, providing some brief respite from the wintry cold, according to the German Weather Service (DWD).

December will start on Wednesday with mostly rain and overcast skies, with strong southwesterly winds expected to blow across the country. In contrast to the snowy end to November, Wednesday will be quite mild with temperatures between four and 11C.

Pop-up vaccination clinic in Hamburg
People queue up for a Covid jab in the rain in Hamburg on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Thomas Müller

On Thursday night, according to the weather service, it will remain overcast with further rain – though temperatures could drop as low as minus two degrees, bringing ice and slippery roads. 

During the day, the skies will clear up, especially in the north of the country. In the east, there will be moderate westerly winds with strong gusts, but on the coast the gale-force winds will gradually abate.

In central Germany, it will remain cloudy until the afternoon, with more snow due to fall at higher altitudes. 

According to meteorologists, temperatures will range between minus one and seven degrees Celsius.

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WEATHER

‘Clear indication of climate change’: Germany logs warmest year on record

Looking at data from 2,000 measuring systems around Germany, the German Weather Service (DWD) said that 2022 marked the warmest year on record through November.

'Clear indication of climate change': Germany logs warmest year on record

“Never since 1881 has the period from January to November in Germany been so warm as in 2022,” said DWD spokesman Uwe Kirsche in a statement on Wednesday.

The average temperature for the first eleven months of 2022 was 11.3C, according to the weather service in Offenbach. The previous high was set in 2020, at 11.1C for this period. 

The temperature average for autumn alone was 10.8 degrees – an entire 2C degrees higher than it was between 1961 to 1990, which is used by meteorologists around the globe as a point of reference. 

Clear indication of climate change

The period from January to October was already the warmest on record, with an average temperature of 11.8C. For meteorologists, autumn ends with November, whereas in calendar terms, it lasts until December 21st. 

It is “a clear indication of climate change;” that the warmest October months of the last 140 years all fall in this millennium, said DWD.

READ ALSO: ‘A glimpse into our climate future’: Germany logs warmest October on record

Autumn 2022 could have easily been mistaken for summer in some regions of Germany, it said. The mercury reached the highest in Kleve on the Lower Rhine on September 5th, where temperatures soared to a sizzling 32.3C.

weather Germany september

Beach goers in Westerland, Schleswig-Holstein on September 25th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Molter

Rainy regions

The mild weather extended into November, before temperatures took a dramatic dip in many parts of the country. 

In the Oberharz am Brocken, the mercury dropped all the way to -11.6C on November 20th, the nationwide low for this autumn.

READ ALSO: Germany to see first snowfall after mild November

But despite the early warm spells, autumn was also “slightly wetter than average,” according to DWD. An average of around 205 liters of precipitation per squar metre fell across Germany.

That was about twelve percent more than in the reference period from 1961 to 1990. Compared to 1991 to 2020, the increase was about eight percent.

The Black Forest and the Alps received the most rainfall. Utzenfeld in the southern Black Forest had the highest daily precipitation in Germany with 86 litres per square meter on October 14th. In contrast, it remained very dry in the northeast. 

However, there were also a fair few bright, sunny days for people to enjoy. According to DWD, the sun shone for a good 370 hours this autumn – almost 20 percent more than in the period from 1961 to 1990 and 15 percent more than in the period from 1991 to 2020.

The North German Lowlands saw the most sun, with residents there getting a solid 400 hours of sunshine over autumn. 

Temperatures to drop this week

Just in time for the start of the meteorological winter on December 1st, temperatures will drop significantly into the low negatives in many parts of the country.

On the weekend, there is a risk of permafrost in some regions of eastern Germany. The nights will also become increasingly frosty, with snow expected in many regions by the end of the week.

Roads are expected to turn icy, but with no major snowstorms, said DWD.

READ ALSO: Will Germany see more snow this winter?

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