’40C in some regions’: Heatwave set to return to Germany

Temperatures are expected to rise to 35C in some areas of Germany by Wednesday, followed by a cooling off period - before another hot spell that could see the mercury increase to 40C in some regions.

A thermometer shows 37C in front of the sun in an allotment garden in Frankfurt Oder.
A thermometer shows 37C in front of the sun in an allotment garden in Frankfurt Oder. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Patrick Pleul

While June saw record-breaking temperatures and a high of 39.2C, July could break the 40C barrier. 

Temperatures are already climbing throughout Germany and are expected to reach 30C or more in the west on Tuesday, and will continue to climb on Wednesday and Thursday in many regions in the centre and south, while temperatures in northern Germany are expected to remain relatively mild.

In a tweet, the DWD said the risk of people getting sunburnt was high on Tuesday “especially in the southwest”. They urged people to use sunscreen.

READ ALSO: Heatwave: Germany sees record high temperatures

The heat will then ease off on Friday, before it begins to ramp up again from Sunday and, according to meteorologist Britta Siebert-Sperl of Wetterkontor, temperatures could climb up to 40C in central and southern Germany by the middle of next week.

Speaking to the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND) she said: “In the period from Saturday, July 16th, to Wednesday, July 20th, it is expected to get hotter and hotter. Temperatures will approach the 40C mark in some places.”

Karsten Friedrich, a climatologist at the German Weather Service (DWD) told the Local: “Six to Seven days is a relatively long time for weather models, so it’s difficult to say exactly how hot it will be. But it is likely that the temperature will reach 40C in some regions.”

READ ALSO: 8 of the coolest places in Germany to visit on hot summer days

Hot air from North Africa, which is making its way through Spain and France to Germany is going to drive up temperatures, as sunshine alone is not enough to reach such peaks.

However, Friedrich told The Local that the extreme heat next week will probably just be a “short peak” and that it’s likely the weather will cool down again soon after.

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Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine

A stranded cargo ship caused traffic to be halted Wednesday at the Rhine river in western Germany after suffering a technical fault, authorities said, at a time when water transport was already ailing from a drought.

Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine

The vessel is stuck at St. Goar and Oberwesel, in between the cities of Mainz and Koblenz, water police said, adding that they were expecting to clear the stricken ship within the day.

The machine damage came as water levels in the Rhine had dropped to critical points at several locations, including at nearby Kaub — a known bottleneck for shipping where the river runs narrow and shallow.

The gauge at Kaub stood at 34 cm (13 inches) on Wednesday, well below the 40-cm reference point.

While vessels are still able to navigate at low water levels, they are forced to reduce their loads to avoid the risk of running aground.

About four percent of freight is transported on waterways in Germany, including on the Rhine, which originates in Switzerland and runs through several countries including France and Germany before flowing into the sea in the Netherlands.

READ ALSO: How the Rhine’s low water levels are impacting Germany

Transport on the Rhine has gained significance in recent months because among cargo moved on the river is coal, now all the more necessary as Germany seeks to wean itself off Russian gas.

Germany’s biggest companies have already warned that major disruptions to river traffic could deal another blow to an economy already beset by logistical difficulties.

The 2018 drought, which saw the benchmark depth of the Rhine in Kaub drop to 25 cm in October, shrank German GDP by 0.2 percent that year, according to Deutsche Bank Research.