When was Germany’s coldest winter?

Germany is in the grip of a cold snap, bringing much of the country to a standstill. These are the years that the country has experienced the worst winters.

When was Germany's coldest winter?
People using skis in Leipzig on Monday during a snow storm. Photo: DPA

Heavy snowfall and freezing rain caused traffic chaos at the weekend – and it's still resulting in serious disruption on Monday.

The extreme weather is down to an area of low pressure dubbed “Tristan” which currently has large parts of central and northern Germany in its grip.

It may be a bit of shock for German residents compared to recent years: the last two winters in Germany were comparatively mild.

But now the country is experiencing a cold spell again, with lots of snowfall and temperatures way below zero.

In a historical comparison, however, the winter of 2020/21 has so far been fairly mild compared to other years, as the Statista graphic based on data from the German Weather Service (DWD) shows.

Germany experienced its coldest winter since weather records began in 1962/63, when the average temperature nationwide from December to February was -5.5C.

The second coldest winter occurred in 1940 during the Second World War, with an average of -5.0C. The winters of recent years do not come close to these freezing records. The last time Germany experienced a particularly frosty winter was in 1984/85 (-2.5C).

READ ALSO: Germany braces for more snow as extreme winter weather causes chaos

Graph translated by Statista for The Local Germany.

In fact, in general winters in Germany have been getting warmer due to climate change.

According to the DWD, the average temperature across Germany was 3C in December 2020 and 0.6C in January 2021. Both values were above the average for the period from 1961 to 1990.

Of course we still have to see what the rest of February holds – and with freezing weather forecast for the rest of the week at least, things are not looking good. But we'll see how that compares historically once the cold snap is over.

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Germany sees end of heatwave as storms lash the country

Is summer really over? It certainly did not feel like it with over a week of dry weather and high temperatures stretching into the mid-30s. But that's set to change Tuesday, with massive rainfall forecast across the country.

Germany sees end of heatwave as storms lash the country

Over the weekend Germany saw temperatures reaching as high as 35C. Freibäder (open-air pools) which were supposed to close after the summer season stayed open.

But on Tuesday the Bundesrepublik can expect temperature drops of up to 15C as thunderstorms move from western to eastern Germany.

The German Weather Service (DPA) issued an extreme weather warning amid intense rain and a winds of up to 100 km per hour in some areas.

Throughout the day the northwest will see showers, thunderstorms and squalls, according to DWD.

The southeast is set to stay sunny, but may also experience thunder and lightning in the afternoon. Cities such as Berlin and Dresden will be muggy with highs between 26 and 31C, whereas in the northwest the mercury will read between 22 and 25C.

During the day, storms with heavy rain of up to 20 litres per square metre will move from the regions of the Lower Rhine and West Münsterland towards East Westphalia, before moving further east.

In addition to heavy rain, there may also be large hailstorms and gusts of up to 100 km/h.

On Wednesday, the storm front will move south of the Main River. The violent thunderstorms will bring torrential rain in parts. Temperatures will stay similar with highs between 18 and 26C. In northern Germany, clouds will clear up and it will stay dry throughout the day.

Across Germany, Thursday is likely to become warm and sunny again. “At 18 to 24C, however, temperatures are much more subdued compared to the current [heat wave]. On Friday and Saturday, however, temperatures are expected to rise again somewhat,” said DWD meteorologist Markus Übel in a statement.

Temperatures going into the following week are then expected to be in the high 20s, which meteorologists predict will push this September into the hottest on record in Germany.

READ ALSO: Summer set to return to Germany with mid-August heatwave


muggy – schwül 

meteorologist – (der) Meteorologe/(der) Wetterbeobachter

thunderstorm – (das) Gewitter

hail – (der) Hagel

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