Heatwave: Germany sees record high temperatures

A temperature record of 39.2C was recorded in the eastern German city of Cottbus on Sunday as forest fires broke out, before torrential rain and storms hit.

People cool down in the Isar river in Munich on Sunday.
People cool down in the Isar river in Munich on Sunday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Peter Kneffel

A heatwave gripped parts of Europe and Germany over the weekend, resulting in sweltering heat. 

However, there was a major drop in temperatures on Monday with rain and storms. 

On Sunday, the German Weather Service (DWD) recorded readings of 38C – and more – at several weather stations in Thuringia, Saxony and Brandenburg in the afternoon.

READ ALSO: Europe swelters under record-breaking heatwave

In Cottbus, a new Germany-wide temperature record of 39.2C for the second part of June was measured.

The preliminary reading at the station in the eastern Brandenburg city of Cottbus exceeded the previous high by almost one degree.

The previous record for this period – 38.3C – was measured in 2002 in the Rhineland.

Earlier in the afternoon on Sunday, the highest temperatures of the year to date had been recorded at the stations Waghäusel-Kirrlach on the Upper Rhine (Baden-Württemberg) and in Bad Kreuznach (Rhineland-Palatinate) with 37.1C.

Forest fires wreak havoc

The mercury in many other parts of Germany also spiked upwards – reaching just under 38C. In a strip taking in the Upper Rhine in Baden-Württemberg through southern Hesse and Bavaria to southern eastern Germany, temperatures of 35 to 37C were recorded at 3pm, according to the DWD.

The heat resulted in two large forest fires breaking out in Treuenbrietzen and Beelitz, which are both in the Potsdam-Mittelmark district. Hundreds of people had to be evacuated from their homes as a safety measure. 

An area the size of almost 300 football fields was on fire, authorities said. More than a thousand firefighters were deployed to try and get the blaze under control. 

READ ALSO: How climate change is threatening Germany’s forests

Heavy rain on Sunday night and on Monday provided some relief. Rain and storms were to continue throughout Monday, said the DWD. 

“The fire is under control, but not yet extinguished,” the city of Beelitz said on Monday morning. “Even though the current rain is helping us a lot, there may still be heavy smoke.”

Authorities urged locals to stay indoors and keep their windows and doors closed to avoid the smoke. 

Rain on Monday in Treuenbrietzen, Brandenburg, helped in the fight against forest fires.

Rain on Monday in Treuenbrietzen, Brandenburg, helped in the fight against forest fires. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Annette Riedl

Despite the heat in some parts of the country, northern Germany escaped high temperatures. 

In Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein, for instance, it was around 12 to 15C on Sunday. In North Rhine-Westphalia, too, the mercury reached about 20C – far lower than other parts of the country. 

According to the DWD, the week starts with showers and cooler temperatures in large parts of Germany. In the west and north, it will begin with cloudy and sunny spells, while in the northeast there may be isolated showers and short thunderstorms.

That will continue before warmer temperatures return near the end of the week, reaching over 30C in some areas, and accompanied by a strong chance of thunderstorms.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Will Germany see more snow this winter?

Over the weekend, large parts of Germany saw early snowfall, but will it continue throughout the winter?

Will Germany see more snow this winter?

Many parts of Germany experienced an early white Christmas over the weekend, as snow fell from Berlin to the Baltic Sea. Hesse also saw at least the first swirl of snowflakes and there was light snow in the Siegerland and the Hochsauerland districts of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Some areas of the country were hit particularly hard by the snow – a few centimetres of snow fell in Kassel, while large parts of Bavaria experienced heavy snowfall on Saturday.

READ ALSO: Surviving winter: 8 tips for enjoying the cold like a true German

There were also numerous accidents on icy roads in North Rhine-Westphalia, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Schleswig-Holstein and Bavaria. 

Will there be more snowfall this week?

Snowfall is expected at the beginning of the week in some areas in Thuringia and Saxony, while further south, there is likely to be snowfall only at high altitudes – such as in the Bavarian Alps.

Snow lies on the beach in Zingst, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Georg Moritz

In the coming days, temperatures will rise again and the weather will become milder. According to the German Weather Service (DWD) temperatures will hover between 5C and 12C for most of the country, while only the northeast and east see maximum temperatures of 0C to 4C.

Will there be more snow this winter?

2022 has already broken weather records in Germany – the period from January to the end of October was the warmest since weather records began almost 140 years ago.

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

Various weather models have already simulated the coming winter in Europe and Germany and provide estimations on how much warmer the coming winter is likely to be than from the years 1961 to 1990.

The models created by NASA, DWD, and the Climate Forecast System all agree that trend of rising temperatures will probably continue over the winter. Between December and February, it’s expected that the mercury will be between 1C and 3C higher than it was between 1961 and 1990. 

Meteorologist Corinna Borau from told the Frankfurter Rundschau that she thinks that it’s extremely unlikely that there will be further snowfall in December in Germany.

“If the month looks rather dry and too mild overall, then we can’t expect large amounts of snow” Borau said. 

According to Borau, January is unlikely to be a “snow bomb” either, though it will still “feel like winter” and snow is only expected to fall sporadically. In February, however, the chances of snowfall are higher than in previous months.