Germany braces for violent storms and extreme winds

Storm Sabine is forecast to hit Germany at the end of the weekend bringing with it high winds and rain.

Germany braces for violent storms and extreme winds
High waters on a stormy day in Schleswig-Holstein in January. Photo: DPA

On Sunday forecasters predict heavy showers, gale-force winds and thunderstorms. There might also be some hailstones and localized flooding.

In a statement, the German Weather Service (DWD) said the weekend would be fairly calm from a meteorological point of view, but “from Sunday onwards the tone will change significantly, as a nationwide, partly severe storm situation is likely”.

Forecasters said the strong gusts will be felt in the northwest of Germany as early as Sunday morning, particularly in areas at the North Sea coast.

The storm will then spread to the north and centre of the country. And on Sunday night, the south of Germany will also be affected.

DWD posted this graphic which shows where the strongest winds are expected (areas in red on the map).

According to forecasters, the wind will continue to increase and heavy gusts are likely in some areas.

“With a cold front moving simultaneously from northwest to southeast, gale-force gusts of over 105 km/h and hurricane-speed gusts are also possible at times,” said the weather service.

Some weather experts predicted wind speeds of more than 120km/h.

Rescue workers at the scene of a fallen tree in Stuttgart on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Meanwhile, the storm will likely continue throughout Monday until the early hours of Tuesday.

DWD tweeted a warning on Thursday to say that the storm coming from the Norway area was due to arrive in Germany from Sunday.

The weather will likely cause disruption to public transport and commuters are warned to allow more time to get to work on Monday.

Rail operator Deutsche Bahn said it was ready for any extreme weather and preparations would “naturally be in full swing”.

“Technicians and staff are in stand-by mode so that in the event of a disruption, train traffic can resume as quickly as possible,” the spokeswoman said.

However, meteorologist Bernd Hussing, based in Essen, said it was hard to predict the severity of the storm and winds.

“How strong it will be is still a bit uncertain,” he told German newspaper, RP Online. 

It came after torrential rain mixed with strong winds caused widespread disruption in southern and western Germany earlier this week.

READ ALSO: Fact check – is winter actually coming to Germany this year?

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What temperatures can we expect in Germany this week?

Parts of Germany will see another heatwave this week as temperatures soar.

What temperatures can we expect in Germany this week?

The German Weather Service (DWD) has predicted that the mercury will climb in some regions of to around 34C this week. 

“After low pressure ‘Karin’ gave parts of Germany rain, sometimes in large quantities, high pressure ‘Piet’ is now back in pole position,” said meteorologist Lars Kirchhübel of the DWD.

This high pressure zone will dominate the weather in large parts of western and central Europe over the coming days, the weather expert said, adding that it will reach Germany too. 

On Monday temperatures remained fairly cool across the country after a weekend of showers, but they are set to climb over the course of the week, particularly on Wednesday and Thursday. Forecasters predict it could reach 32C in Stuttgart and 33C in Cologne on Thursday. Locally, temperatures could reach 34C. 

However, from the Oder and Neisse rivers to the Erzgebirge mountains and southeast Bavaria, denser clouds and some showers are to be expected. This is due to a high-level low pressure system over the Balkan region, according to forecasters. Short showers are also possible in the Black Forest.

“In most of the rest of the country, high ‘Piet’ will be able to hold its ground,” said Kirchhübel.

READ ALSO: Heavy rain in Bavaria swells rivers, but flooding avoided

At the end of the week, thunderstorms are forecast but temperatures are expected to remain high. 

August in Germany ‘too dry’

According to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, August as a whole – apart from a few areas in eastern Germany – will be too dry compared to the multi-year average.

The Black Forest, the High Rhine and the Allgäu to the Bavarian Forest, however, are not expected to have any major problems due to the high rainfall of the past few days.

“Looking at Rhineland-Palatinate, the southern half of Hesse, the western half of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Franconia shows a different picture,” said Kirchhübel. In the last 30 days, only about 10 percent of the usual level of precipitation fell in some places.

“At some stations, no precipitation at all has been measured in August,” added Kirchhübel, referencing Würzburg as an example.

Rainfall at the weekend caused the water in the Rhine river to rise slightly. In Emmerich, the water level reached a positive value again after the historic low of the past few days: in the morning, it showed three centimetres – an increase of six centimetres compared to the previous day.

The water level also rose by several centimetres at the other measuring points in North Rhine-Westphalia: in Cologne, the level rose to 80cm and in Düsseldorf to 38cm.

READ ALSO: Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine

Despite this encouraging trend, the Waterways and Shipping Authority said it did not expect a huge improvement in water levels in the foreseeable future due to more hot weather coming.