Warnings of water shortages as heatwave reaches Germany

With temperatures expected to rise to over 35C in many parts of the country on Tuesday, regional officials are warning of the impact on water supplies.

Sunflowers in a field in northern Saxony.
Sunflowers in a field in northern Saxony. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sebastian Willnow

Over the weekend southern Europe has been in the grip of an extreme heatwave, with wildfires rampaging through Portugal and Spain. 

The hot air causing these intense temperatures is now arriving in Germany. On Monday, temperatures will rise to more than 30C in many areas and exceed 35C in large parts of the country on Tuesday.

The German Weather Service reported that western Germany will be particularly affected, with some areas even reaching 40C.

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

In view of the extreme weather conditions, the doctors’ association Marburger Bund is calling for a national heat protection plan and an awareness campaign.

Chairwoman Susanne Johna told Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND): “Politicians must significantly expand their efforts for protective measures during hot spells”. 

She said that cities and municipalities need heat protection plans so that senior citizen facilities or hospitals can better prepare for heatwaves.

The trade union Verdi is also calling for relief for employees. Norbert Reuter, head of the organisation’s basic collective bargaining department, told RND: “In extreme heat, we naturally demand longer breaks or an earlier end to work – even if there is no legal entitlement to this.”

Meanwhile, the German Association of Towns and Municipalities is warning of water shortages in some regions of Germany as a result of the extreme heat.

Chief Executive Gerd Landsberg told the Handelsblatt: “The drastically increasing demand for water in industry, agriculture, but also in private households is problematic”.

READ ALSO: More floods, droughts and heatwaves: How climate change will impact Germany

They too are calling for heat action plans, both to protect people’s health and to preserve water supplies. 

“Private households should collect rainwater within their means”, Landsberg said, while gardening water bans may also be necessary in individual cases.

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Snowfall due at the weekend as winter arrives in Germany

After a cold blast at the end of November, winter in Germany is set to begin with yet more snow, making it the perfect time to dig out a puffer coat and get out to Christmas market.

Snowfall due at the weekend as winter arrives in Germany

German punctuality has struck once again as winter looks set to arrive right on cue this year, with a flurry of snowfall, ice and frosty conditions in several regions of the country.

According to the German Weather Service (DWD), Saxony-Anhalt could see the mercury drop as low as -6C on Friday as snow continues to fall until the afternoon. The Harz mountains will also get a festive dusting of snow, with temperatures ranging from -1 to -3C in the coming days.   

Saturday is set to be overcast in the region with up to 5cm of snowfall, but things could dry up on Sunday as temperatures rise to a nippy 1-3C. The eastern states of Saxony and Thuringia can also expect icy conditions and snow over the weekend.

In North Rhine-Westphalia, snow is also expected at higher altitudes. In eastern Westphalia and in the Sauerland region, there could be light snowfall or sleet, DWD reported on Friday. Drivers and cyclists should exercise caution as roads are likely to become slippery due to fresh snow or freezing rain.

DWD explains that two high-pressure areas are currently causing colder winds to sweep across Germany. The first, which caused snow to fall overnight across central Germany, is gradually heading south towards France – though the second is set to bring another icy spell to the country on Friday evening and into Saturday.

Bavaria will be the first to experience the chill as the high-pressure zone travels across the Alps overnight. 

The southern state is likely to have a soggy start to the weekend, with rain falling at lower altitudes – though more hilly and mountainous areas will see some snow. But as temperatures drop during the night, residents of Bavaria could see as much as 5cm as snow on Saturday morning.

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

The rest of the weekend will likely be marked by uniform grey skies, frost and drizzle, though those lucky enough to live in an Alpine region could see a few precious rays of sunshine too.

The weather will also take a distinctly wintry turn in Berlin and Brandenburg over the weekend, as the cold front sweeps across northeastern Germany on Saturday and towards the Baltic Sea. 

Friday is likely to be mostly chilly and overcast, with occasional rain or sleet and maximum temperatures of 2C. 

In the night, however, southern Brandenburg will start to see some fresh snowfall, which will move up across Berlin and to the north of Brandenburg over the course of Saturday.

Snow falls outside the Reichstag in Berlin

Snow falls outside the Reichstag in Berlin on Wednesday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Soeder

Berliners should be sure to wrap up if they’re heading out to enjoy the festive scenes, since the mercury is likely to hover between zero and -2C. 

Will the snow settle? 

Unfortunately the dusting of white is unlikely to stick around long in most places – so make your snow angels while you can. 

Misty or overcast skies will return on Advent Sunday, while occasional drizzle could well turn Saturday’s snow into slush. Hilly and mountainous regions will be the only ones treated to an extra helping of snow.

Meanwhile, Monday is set to get off to a soggy and wet start, with rainfall in most regions and temperatures between 1C and 5C. 

READ ALSO: Will Germany see more snow this winter?