Weird weather: Temperatures between -7C and up to 20C expected in Germany at weekend

For the weekend, the northern half of Germany will be seeing lots of snow, massive drifts and flooding, whereas the southern half will be graced with sun and mild to warm weather.

Weird weather: Temperatures between -7C and up to 20C expected in Germany at weekend
Kiel's city centre was already coated with snow on Thursday afternoon. Photo: DPA

The differences between northern and southern Germany could already be seen (and felt) on Thursday.

The north experienced chilly temperatures (-2 to +2C), while in the south and southwest the highs varied between 9C to 14C, according to the German Weather Service (DWD). 

At night the temperature was forecast to drop to -7C in the northeast, while in the southwest it will stay mostly frost-free at up to 6C.

A few people sat outside at beer garden tables in Munich on Thursday, where temperatures reached 12C. Photo: DPA

Over the weekend, temperatures will hover around freezing in the north and northeast during the day, dipping to -7C at night. In the south and southwest, the Mercury could reach 13C.

The area around the Alps could even see temperatures stretching between 15 and 20C.

On Saturday in Berlin, daytime temperatures of 0C are expected, whereas the Mercury will show a sunny 12C in Munich. In Cologne, they will be a more mild 7C, and also 7C in central Frankfurt. 

So what explains the big divide? An “air mass boundary” cutting through the Bundesrepublik separates icy polar air in the north from mild spring air in the south, according to DWD. In places where the two opponents collide, heavy rain is set to fall.

Snow storms early next week

According to initial estimates, 10 to 25 centimetres of fresh snow may fall in some areas on Monday, and in some places (especially in the northwest) amounts of 30 to 40 cm cannot be ruled out, said DWD.

In Berlin, the Mercury will stand at -6C on Monday, 3C in Munich, and 0C in both Cologne and Frankfurt.

In addition, the eastern wind from the Baltic Sea coast will bring gusts ranging from strong to stormy and may blow away the fresh new snow.

Accordingly, people in these regions should continue to have their snow shovels ready and be prepared for obstructions in road and rail traffic. Electricity outages and falling snow could also become an issue.

In the transition area between cold and warm northern and southern air, weather conditions could become severe, bringing freezing rain and black ice.

The falling rain may freeze on the ground and on objects for a longer period of time, causing severe icy conditions.

Weather: Potential of the catastrophic winter of 1978/79

In any case, people in the north should prepare for a lot of snow. 

“It could snow heavily and for a long time,” said meteorologist Tobias Reinartz of DWD on Wednesday.

“The question is how far south it will penetrate,” Reinartz said.

Weather expert Frank Böttcher said the air mass distribution over Europe currently holds the potential of the catastrophic winter of 1978/79, but warned against jumping to conclusions. 

Snow near Berlin's Alexanderplatz in February 1979. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

“We are still very far away from the actual events.”

The consequences of 78-79, officially declared a catastrophe, were severe.

Metre-high snowdrifts brought road and rail traffic to a standstill and many villages were cut off from the outside world.

The Rügen causeway at the Baltic Sea became impassable in the night of December 30th due to snowdrifts up to five metres high. A total of 12,000 inhabitants and 3,000 guests were isolated from the mainland.

Onset of winter: Affected regions make preparations

First preparations are already being made: due to the expected severe onset of winter, the city-state of Hamburg has extended the winter emergency programme for the homeless. 

The shelters are to remain open all day from Friday until Monday, the social authorities announced in Hamburg on Thursday.

With temperatures in the double-digit minus range, the danger of frost and frostbite is huge for people spending long times outdoors.

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Snow and highs of 20C: Germany set for ‘rollercoaster’ weather before Easter

From snowstorms to dazzling sunshine, the famously changeable spring weather is set to hit Germany in the run-up to the Easter holidays.

Snow and highs of 20C: Germany set for 'rollercoaster' weather before Easter

Though winter is well behind us, you may well find yourself reaching for your snow jacket once more as Germany is set for some pretty erratic weather over the coming days.

Snow and hailstorms have set in everywhere from the northern coast to the Bavarian Alps, and this blast of cold is likely to endure in the week ahead, according to weather experts.

“The current Easter forecasts point to new cold air from Palm Sunday and this cold air could then even more or less hold its own until Easter Sunday,” meteorologist Dominik Jung told Bild. 

But in true April style, there will also be bouts of warm sunshine in between the cold spells, he added.

“Again and again, forecasts are also appearing that show 20C and more at Easter.”

Generally, German meteorological models don’t predict this far in the future, so the US model is currently being used to predict whether we’ll be in jackets or shorts over the Easter break.

So far, the German Weather Service (DWD) has predicted that rain showers, clouds and chilly temperatures will be the main feature of the week ahead, with snow hitting the northeastern and higher-altitude regions over the weekend. 

Schwangau in snow

The castle of Schwangau in Bavaria was covered in snow on Monday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Karl-Josef Hildenbrand

However, DWD also forecasts temperatures of up to 17 or 19C in some parts of the country. 

“It is the eternal battle between the remaining wintry cold air and the summer air masses that are now pushing into Europe,” said Jung. “This has been going on for weeks now and this back and forth will probably continue until Easter.”

READ ALSO: 7 unmissable events taking place across Germany in April

Here’s what to expect over the coming days:

Tuesday: Snow in the Alps and eastern mountains, scattered clouds and sunshine in the southwest and northeast, heavy winds in the north. Temperatures between 3C and 12C. 

Wednesday: Overcast skies, light breeze and sunny spells with occasional rainshowers. Heavy winds in mountain regions. Temperatures between 7C and 18C.

Thursday: Heavy clouds, rainstorms and thunder and lightning in some regions in the morning, making way for clearer skies in the afternoon and evening. Fresh southwesterly wind with mild temperatures of 10 to 19C. 

Friday: A mixture of sun and clouds and scattered rain throughout the day, mild temperatures and occasional thunderstorms in southern regions. Temperatures between 9C and 19C. 

Saturday: Stormy winds and chilly temperatures, accompanied by scattered rainstorms and heavy clouds. Temperatures of 5C to 9C in the northern regions and 9C to 14C elsewhere. 

Palm Sunday: Clearer skies and mostly dry weather northeastern regions, overcast skies and scattered showers elsewhere. Temperatures of 4C to 8C in the north and northern and 7C to 12C in other parts of the country. 

Monday: Southern regions to see more cloudy skies, isolated showers and occasional snowfall, while northern regions will enjoy clear skies and sunshine. Temperatures between 4C and 11C.