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STORM

Incoming storm: Hurricane-force winds on the way to Germany

Extreme weather is predicted across Germany in the coming week, with hurricane-force winds expected, and flood warnings put out across many states.

Incoming storm: Hurricane-force winds on the way to Germany
Photo: DWD

Monday's weather forecasts made for some grim reading for many across Germany as locals discovered that severe weather warnings had been issued for their areas.

Large proportions of the country had some level of weather warning issued as of Monday afternoon until Wednesday, with some districts facing potential flooding or heavy storms

A level 3 warning, the second most serious, was issued in the Harz Mountains area, with the German Weather Service (DWD) expecting hurricane-force winds of up to 110 km/h. The DWD also forecast potential flooding due to melting ice.

The DWD has warned people in the area to avoid going outside, and to stay away from buildings, trees, and power lines.

Yellow areas mean level 1 warnings, orange means level 2 or “striking” warnings, while green means no weather warning. Click on the image to see the latest warning status.

Strong winds were also forecast between Monday evening and Tuesday evening for all of the northern states, with wind speeds of up to 60 km/h expected. Stronger, gale-force winds were predicted in some districts of the state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania.

Much of the state of Baden-Württemberg has a level 2 weather warning, with the DWD cautioning some districts in the east that they could see up to 50mm of rain over only a 48-hour period, higher than the average rainfall for the whole month.

Due to the high amount of rainfall, combined with the large amount of ice and snow expected to melt by Wednesday, the DWD warned of high water levels in streams and rivers, and the potential flooding of some streets. 

Similar warnings for thawing ice have been issued across Thuringia, almost half of Saxony, and many areas of Bavaria, with some districts expecting large quantities of water to be drained over the next 48 hours. 

The new weather warnings comes after Germany experienced two vicious storms, Axel and Egon, in the early half of January. 

In the wake of storm Axel, the worst flooding for a decade was seen along the Baltic coast. The rising tides flooded streets and basements, and left cars underwater in many coastal areas. 

While nobody was hurt in storm Axel, storm Egon left two dead, and thousands more without power.

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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