Heatwave: Germany braced for hottest day ever as temperatures set to top 40C

Germany was set for its hottest day ever on Thursday amid a Europe wide heatwave, following a record-breaking Wednesday.

Heatwave: Germany braced for hottest day ever as temperatures set to top 40C
Bathers in Passau, Bavaria, cool down in Wednesday's extreme heat. Photo: DPA

Temperatures are expected to exceed 40C in western parts of the country.

It came after a new record high temperature was set on Wednesday, the German Meteorological Service said.

The high of 40.5C was recorded in Geilenkirchen, north of Aachen in North Rhine-Westphalia, which tops the previous high of 40.3 degrees recorded in Bavaria in 2015. 

The reading, tweeted out by Germany's DWD weather service, was not taken at one of its own measuring stations, but one operated by NATO. That meant it had to be double-checked, a DWD forecaster told DPA.

On Thursday afternoon the record was confirmed. But it is likely that this record could be smashed on Thursday, the peak of the heatwave.

The DWD said in a tweet that they had reviewed the reading and confirmed a new record of 40.5C recorded in Geilenkirchen on July 24th.

READ ALSO: 'Heatwave could go down in history': Germany faces temperatures up to 41C

On Wednesday they had said it was an “expected new temperature record in Germany”. “Tomorrow (Thursday) it will be a little hotter regionally”, the DWD explained in a tweet which included the top 10 hottest places in Germany.  “Today's record may only last one day.”

Heat warnings issued

On Thursday, temperatures were expected to be between 32 and 37C in some areas, and in the hottest areas in the western part of the country it could top 40C again.

Forecasters said temperatures below 30C will only be found on the Baltic and North Sea coasts or on the mountains above 1000 meters. The highest temperatures of the day are usually reached at about 5pm.

Peak heat warnings have been issued by the DWD.

The service tweeted a map with the temperatures from Wednesday and the expected highs for Thursday, showing just hot Germany will be.

On Wednesday, Germany sweltered in the heat. Overnight temperatures remained high – hardly dropping below 24C in western spots, like the Rhine-Main region, according to the DWD.

Meteorologists are blaming a weather front, dubbed 'Yvonne', which stretches from the central Mediterranean to Scandinavia, hanging over Europe.

READ ALSO: Is it ever legally too hot to go to work or school in Germany?

Bonn, Germany's former capital, saw the mercury hit 39C, while in Saarbrücken it was 40.2C.

Due to the heatwave, rivers are suffering from low water. Shrinking levels prompted authorities to ban hotel ships from using a 60km stretch of the Danube river near Vilshofen in Bavaria.

Meanwhile, the heatwave is set to keep other parts of Europe sizzling. On Thursday France's weather service predicted between 37 and 42C, which would likely break Paris' heat record set in 1947.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


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.