Germany grapples with temperatures as low as -26.7C

Bitter cold with extreme lows - the winter weather continues to have Germany in its grip. But road conditions improved Wednesday morning amid lighter snowfall.

Germany grapples with temperatures as low as -26.7C
Snow in Jena, Thuringia on Wednesday morning. Photo: DPA

On early Wednesday morning, the eastern state of Thuringia recorded the coldest temperatures in all of Germany, according to the German Weather Service (DWD).

Mühlhausen clocked in the coldest temperature with -26.7C, followed by Olbersleben with -26C and Dachwig with -25.7C.

According to the DWD, however, these temperatures are still a long way from the coldest temperatures ever measured in Germany.

The record is held by Hüll, Bavaria, which recorded a temperature of -37.8C in 1929.

The following graph from DWD shows the 'cold spots' in Thuringia.

How is the weather affecting train and car traffic?

As of Wednesday morning, there were still problems with train traffic in Germany. 

“Today and in the next few days travellers in many parts of the country must expect significant restrictions in local and long-distance traffic due to the weather,” said a spokeswoman for Deutsche Bahn.

However, while Monday and Tuesday brought traffic chaos to German Autobahns, the situation appeared to have calmed down slightly around the country on Wednesday morning.

Cars on snowy roads in Stuttgart on Wednesday morning. Photo: DPA

According to a police spokesman, traffic on the A2 near Bielefeld – which was hit particularly hard by the storms – was moving on Wednesday morning. 

At present, however, there was still a “latent danger situation” due to trucks parked on the hard shoulder because the drivers had to observe their rest periods – and were asleep.

READ ALSO: Hundreds of drivers spend night on Autobahn as snow chaos continues

In other states, police stations reported isolated accidents due to slippery black ice on the roads.

In Schleswig-Holstein, the A7 in the Rendsburg-Eckernförde district was temporarily completely closed in the direction of Hamburg after a snowplow caught fire. 

In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the police did not have any accident reports for the coastal regions. In Thuringia, a police spokesman also expressed relief that the situation had improved.

“We are happy that it has not snowed again,” he said.

Slightly warmer temperatures

Although there is slated to be less snowfall for the remainder of the week around Germany, temperatures will remain icy cold.

“The weather front ‘Gisela’ means that northern and northeastern Germany will experience widespread frosty temperatures during the day and at night for severe frosts around -20 degrees,” explained DWD meteorologist Jens Bonewitz. 

In Berlin daytime temperatures from Thursday through the weekend, will hover around -1C or -2C – an improvement from earlier this week when they dropped to as low as -10C.

READ ALSO: Why Germany is facing extreme winter weather this month

From Thursday onwards – unlike earlier this week – the cold air will also drift to the south of Germany. Between Thursday and Saturday, daytime temperatures in Munich will range between -6C and -3C.

They reached a high of 12C last week as the south of Germany enjoyed mild Mercury readings. 

Traffic in Bielefeld, where temperatures were -10C, on Wednesday morning. Photo: DPA

‘Calming down’

German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CDU) said he expected more disruptions due to the extreme winter weather. 

“In many regions of Germany, the situation is gradually beginning to calm down. However, it may take some time before everything returns to its normal course,” he said. “Impairments remain in some stretches and areas.”

Inland shipping is also affected by the winter weather: From Wednesday evening, the Mittelland Canal – the largest in artificial waterway in Germany, and the Elbe-Seitenkanal are slated to remain closed.

Meanwhile, aid organisations stepped up their efforts to help the homeless, providing them in many places with warm food, drinks, clothing, sleeping clothes and hygiene items. 

The coronavirus pandemic is further exacerbating the situation for those in need, according to Diakonie, the welfare organization of the Protestant churches.

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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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