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WEATHER

Tourists ‘should brave flood mosquitoes’

Grab a bottle of mosquito repellent, a German minister urged on Monday, and head on down to show solidarity with Germany's worst affected flood regions for your holidays this year.

Tourists 'should brave flood mosquitoes'
Photo: DPA

A current plague of mosquitoes swarming over flood plains along the recently-flooded Elbe, Mulde or Donau rivers should not deter holiday-makers from the disaster regions, German Finance Minister Philipp Rösler told the Neue Presse newspaper on Monday.

“To those who haven’t booked a trip yet, I would recommend a visit to these regions,” said Rösler. “It will surely not only be a beautiful holiday, but at the same time is solidarity in practice.”

His comments received thanks from regional tourism groups, which had in places seen visitor numbers drop by up to 50 percent after last month’s flooding discouraged tourists from taking a riverside holiday this year.

“[Rösler’s comments] will really help us,” Lauenburg-based tourism manager Ulrike Sindermann told the paper. Business has been terrible in the Schleswig-Holstein town since it was swamped in June when the Elbe river burst its banks.

Yet most of the damage has long been cleared up, said Sindermann, leaving her wondering where everyone is.

The flood – the worst seen in the country for over 500 years – has hit the German tourism industry hard. Not only did it destroy hotels, campsites and restaurants right at the beginning of the season, but has also in many regions given rise to a plague of mosquitoes.

“One could talk of a massive plague in the flood regions on the Donau and Elbe. There, even during the day you get attacked by hundreds of mosquitoes and can hardly stay outside,” said Norbert Becker, scientific director of the German Mosquito Control Association (Kabs) told Die Welt on Monday.

The Local/jlb

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WEATHER

‘Heat February’ likely to follow Germany’s warmest January on record so far

After seeing the hottest January so far since records began, meteorologists in Germany are now predicting a warmer-than-usual February, which could bring about problems for winter sports resorts.

‘Heat February’ likely to follow Germany’s warmest January on record so far

Germany is getting hotter. Every decade since the sixties has been warmer than the previous one and the pace is continuing to increase, the German Weather Service (DWD) said in its final climate assessment for the past year released on Monday.

“We are now experiencing hot spells and intensities that we would actually not have expected from climate models for a few decades,” said Andreas Becker, head of the DWD’s climate monitoring department.

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

“Since the year 1881, we now have an increase in the annual mean temperature in Germany of 1.7 C,” Becker said. He added that this increase can only be explained by man-made climate change.

The first half of January – usually considered to be the height of winter – was warmer than ever before this year, at 8.2 C above average. 

But while temperatures are expected to sink and bring some frost and snowfall later this week, meteorologist Dominik Jung from wetter.net, has said that there is no real prospect of a severe cold spell or a deep onset of winter. Meteorologist Alban Burster from wetter.com, meanwhile, said that he expects January to remain mainly foggy and wet.

Looking ahead to February, it seems likely that there will be no change in the warming trend. Meteorologist Jung said that he expects the second month of 2023 to be “almost a kind of ‘heat’ February” – at an average of two to three degrees warmer than the climate average.

Good news for some

For the winter sports season, the warm temperatures are  “a disaster”, Jung said.

READ ALSO: How heatwaves in Germany have led to thousands of deaths

The meagre snowfall is bad news for sports enthusiasts and ski lift operators, many of which have had to resort to using artificial snow – at a significant cost. 

However, for those hoping to save on their home heating bills, the warm winter months, for now, are good news. 

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