Heatwave: Germany braces for temperatures up to 40C

Germany will see extreme heat again this week, as well as storms.

People enjoy warmer weather on a jetty in Lake Starnberg, Bavaria, on August 1st.
People enjoy warmer weather on a jetty in Lake Starnberg, Bavaria, on August 1st. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Peter Kneffel

As we enter the first week of August, temperatures are set to climb higher once again. Here’s a look at what we can expect.

Monday: the calm before the heat storm

The new week starts with sunny and mostly dry weather, especially at the North Sea and from the South Baden area to the Alps. In the rest of the country, more clouds and a few rain showers are expected, which may be accompanied by thunderstorms in the west by Monday afternoon.

Highs of 18 to 24C were expected in the north and west, while the mercury was set to hover around 25 to 31C elsewhere. 

The German Weather Service (DWD) announced a purple heat warning for the south west corner of the country on Monday morning, as shown in the map below. 

German weather map

Map: German Weather Service (DWD)

Tuesday: high summer picks up speed rapidly

All in all, Tuesday will bring more sunshine and not too much rainfall. However, at the North Sea will there be clouds and intermittent showers.

Temperatures of 26 to 30C are forecast, while it could hit 33C in the south west of Germany. Coastal regions remain less warm with highs of 22 to 25C.

Wednesday: getting hotter

The heat will build up rapidly mid-week, reaching 32 to 36C, and up to 38C on the Upper Rhine. The sun will shine from the south right up to the north, where the heat won’t be quite as strong. In the coastal areas, maximum temperatures are expected to range from 23 to 27C.

Thursday: heatwave peak – 40C possible

We are heading for the next super hot day this summer, with temperatures set to soar from 33 to 37C.  The nation’s hotspot, the Upper Rhine, will be sizzling, so take care. Here, the mercury could hit 40C, according to forecasters.

“On the Upper Rhine, 40 or 41C is possible, said meteorologist Dominik Jung from “Once again, temperatures are climbing to record levels this summer.”

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about staying cool in a German heatwave

Jung said that July was already warmer than usual. 

“The summer of 2022 is on track to be one of the warmest summers since 1881,” said Jung. “August 2022 is also starting off very hot right away.”

The northwest of the country, however, will be slightly less warm. Showers and thunderstorms are likely to arrive too, and highs of 22 to 30C are expected.

Friday: storms spread

The east of Germany in particular will be increasingly humid with highs of 25 to 30C. Some heavy showers and thunderstorms are to be expected – and there is a risk of severe conditions due to heavy rain, hail and strong winds.

Meanwhile, the weather in the north and west won’t be as bad, but it will be cooler with 19 to 24C expected.

Weekend: summery in the south, but unpredictable in the north

The outlook for the first weekend in August is divided. The south will remain sunny at times, with local thunderstorms in the Alps, and temperatures of about 24 to 28C.

In the northern half, weather patterns will vary, with isolated rain showers on the coast and temperatures of 18 to 23C.

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Why sunny weather in Germany can switch off solar panels

The more the sun shines in the southern German town of Aurach, the more likely it is that Jens Husemann's solar panels will be disconnected from the grid -- an exasperating paradox at a time when Germany is navigating an energy supply crisis.

Why sunny weather in Germany can switch off solar panels

“It’s being switched off every day,” Husemann told AFP during a recent sunny spell, saying there had been more than 120 days of forced shutdowns so far this year.

Husemann, who runs an energy conversion business near Munich, also owns a sprawling solar power system on the flat roof of a transport company in Aurach, Bavaria.

The energy generated flows into power lines run by grid operator N-Ergie, which then distributes it on the network.

But in sunny weather, the power lines are becoming overloaded — leading the grid operator to cut off supply from the solar panels.

“It’s a betrayal of the population,” said Husemann, pointing to soaring electricity prices and a continued push to install more solar panels across Germany.

Europe’s biggest economy is eyeing an ambitious switch to renewables making up 80 percent of its electricity from 2030 in a bid to go carbon neutral.

N-ergie thermal power station

The thermal power station of energy supplier N-Ergie in Nuremberg, southern Germany. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put a spanner in the works.

Moscow has cut gas supplies to Germany by 80 percent, in what is believed to be a bid to weaken the European powerhouse’s resolve in backing Ukraine.

READ ALSO: OPINION: How many massacres will it take for Germany to turn off Russian gas?

As a result, Berlin has been scrambling for alternative sources across the world to replace the shortfall.

This makes it all the more frustrating for Husemann, whose solar panels normally generate enough electricity for 50 households. With the repeated shutdowns, he suspects they will only supply half of their capacity by the end
of the year.

Grid bottlenecks

Grid operator N-Ergie, which is responsible for harvesting electricity from Husemann’s panels, admits the situation is less than ideal.

There were 257 days last year when it had to cut off supply from solar panels on parts of the grid.

“We are currently witnessing — and this is a good thing — an unprecedented boom in photovoltaic parks,” Rainer Kleedoerfer, head of N-Ergie’s development department, told AFP.

An employee of energy supplier N-ERGIE working at the company's network control centre in Nuremberg, southern Germany. 

An employee of energy supplier N-Ergie working at the company’s network control centre in Nuremberg, southern Germany.  (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

But while it takes just a couple of years to commission a solar power plant, updating the necessary infrastructure takes between five and 10 years, he said.

“The number of interventions and the amount of curtailed energy have increased continuously in recent years” as a result, according to N-Ergie spokesman Michael Enderlein.

“The likelihood is that grid bottlenecks will actually increase in the coming years,” while resolving them will take several more years, Enderlein said.

According to Carsten Koenig, managing director of the German Solar Industry Association, the problem is not unique to solar power and also affects wind energy.

READ ALSO: Reader question – Should I modernise my heating system in Germany?

Solar bottlenecks tend to be regional and temporary, he said. “Occasionally, however, we hear that especially in rural areas in Bavaria, the shutdowns are more frequent.”

2.4 million households

Koenig agrees the problem is likely to get worse before it gets better.

“This will be especially true if political measures aimed at sufficiently expanding the power grid in Germany… drag on for too long,” he said.

Some 6.1 terawatt hours of electricity from renewables had to be curtailed in 2020, according to the most recent figures available.

With an average consumption of around 2,500 kilowatt hours per year in a two-person household, this would have been enough to power around 2.4 million households.

A spokesman for Germany’s Federal Network Agency said it did not share the belief that “it will not be possible to expand the network in line with demand in the coming years”.

Only some aspects of the expansion are seeing delays, the spokesman said — mainly due to slow approval procedures and a lack of specialist companies to do the work.

According to Husemann there have also been delays to the payments he is supposed to receive in return for the solar power he supplies — or cannot supply.

He said he is already owed around 35,000 euros ($35,600) for electricity produced so far this year that has never found its way into a socket.