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WEATHER

More thunderstorms predicted to soak southern and western regions

After violent storms raged through southern Germany, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia on Thursday, more thunderstorms are predicted to arrive on Friday.

More thunderstorms predicted to soak southern and western regions
Pedestrians caught in the rain in Essen on Thursday. Photo: DPA

Following flooded streets and basements and flight cancellations in Stuttgart and Frankfurt due to the extreme weather, meteorologists at the German Weather Service (DWD) have forecast heavy rain to hit again from noon onwards.

“From midday in the south, middle and some western parts of Germany, there’s a danger of local thunderstorms and lightning,” the DWD reported on Friday.

In a short time, between 25 and 40 litres of rain per square metre could fall and some areas could see up to 60 litres per square metre, according to the DWD. There’s also the danger of hail and strong winds of up to 75 kilometres per hour.

While the thunderstorms are predicted to cease in the evening on Friday and into Saturday, the stormy weather could continue for parts of the deep south.

But the north and east of the country will largely be free of thunderstorms on Friday due to warm and dry air, the DWD added.

By the evening on Thursday the strong storms had for the most part ceased in regions across Germany.

Prior to that though flight cancellations took place at two German airports.

Check-in at Stuttgart airport was closed for hours on Thursday evening due to the violent storms. 

“Within a very short time, streets, cellars and underpasses were flooded in Stuttgart,” said a spokesman for the city’s police headquarters on Friday morning. In Reutlingen, Esslingen and Mannheim, local fire brigades were called out numerous times due to reports of flooded cellars and streets. 

Since the Rhine region in Hesse was also affected by the storms, no planes were able to take off and land at Frankfurt Airport in the evening. According to airport operator Fraport, about 180 flights were cancelled.

A Deutsche Bahn spokesperson said that some of the tracks in the underground area of Frankfurt's main station had to be closed due to flooding. Three out of four S-Bahn lines in the central station had to be temporarily closed.

Further regions and cities affected by Thursday's thunderstorms include the Sauerland, Ruhr and Rhineland regions in North Rhine-Westphalia as well as Munich and the Upper Bavarian and Upper Franconian regions in Bavaria.

SEE ALSO: Thunderstorms to bring rare ‘blood rain’ to Germany

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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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