With up to 37.1 degrees, Saturday was the hottest day of the year so far. According to the German Weather Service (DWD), the highest values were measured late Saturday afternoon at the Waghäusel-Kirrlach stations on the Upper Rhine (Baden-Württemberg) and in Bad Kreuznach (Rhineland-Palatinate).
Behind the 37.1 degrees measured there, according to DWD information from Saturday evening, were Möhrendorf-Kleinseebach in the Middle Franconian district of Erlangen-Höchstadt (Bavaria) with 36.8 degrees, followed by Trier-Zewen (Rhineland-Palatinate) with 36.6 degrees and Kahl am Main in the Lower Franconian district of Aschaffenburg on the Bavarian-Hessian border with 36.5 degrees.
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On Sunday it could be even hotter in eastern Germany than on Saturday. A DWD meteorologist said that around Jena or Cottbus it could be up to 38 degrees warm.
The German temperature record is still a long way from all these values. According to the DWD, 41.2 degrees Celsius were measured on July 25, 2019 at stations in Duisburg and Tönisvorst (near Krefeld). A temperature record of 42.6 degrees measured in Lingen on the same day was later canceled afterwards. The values from this Saturday are also not record values for June: at the end of June 2019, values of around 39 degrees were measured in several places.
On the DWD website on Saturday, a warning of heat extended in a strip from Saarbrücken to the eastern border of Brandenburg and Saxony. The meteorologists spoke of “hot North African air” reaching us.
Due to drought, there is also a high risk of forest fires in many parts of Germany. In Brandenburg, for example, the highest danger level was 5 in all districts on Saturday. The situation with the forest fire near Frohnsdorf near Treuenbrietzen (Potsdam-Mittelmark) was considered stable. The fire site was able to be limited, said Raimund Engel, forest fire protection officer for the state of Brandenburg.
On Friday there was a forest fire on about 60 hectares, meanwhile it is a good 40 hectares. According to the information, a helicopter of the federal police is in use. He was supposed to dump extinguishing water over the area on every flight until nightfall. The work of firefighters from several counties is made more difficult because of dangerous explosive ordnance in the area.
Outdoor pools reported a rush during the last weekend of the calendar spring. An employee of the Agrippabad in Cologne said that around noon as many e-tickets as usual in this period were sold. In the Langenfeld outdoor pool near Düsseldorf, ticket sales at the ticket machines were even stopped at noon.
While it was sunny and hot in the south, it was clear to cloudy in the north. The weather attracted many to the coasts of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The railway reported full trains towards the Baltic Sea. The nine-euro ticket is popular, and the regional trains in the tourist regions are particularly busy, said a spokesman. In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania it is very tolerable at 22 to 25 degrees, as meteorologist Stefan Kreibohm from the Hiddensee weather studio said.
In Düsseldorf, the strong solar radiation probably led to cracks in the masonry of a stairwell in an apartment building. The house had been temporarily evacuated, the fire brigade reported on Saturday.
Residents noticed the cracks and called the fire department. The cause of the damage, according to the structural engineer: steel girders in the masonry, which “due to the age of the house were partly exposed”, would have expanded due to the strong sunlight.
The fire brigade found that glass blocks had burst on the back of the house in the stairwell area. Since the basic structure of the walls had proven to be stable according to the test and the apartments were not affected, all residents were able to return to the house.
In Germany, heat also determines the weather on Sunday. From the afternoon, according to the forecast, clouds will increase, especially over the middle, in the south-west German mountains and in the Alps.
Local thunderstorms and severe weather are possible. According to the DWD, there could be gusts of wind at 95 kilometers per hour locally in northern Germany, as well as hail and heavy rain, later in the day also in central Germany.
The astronomical (also calendar) start of summer is on Tuesday (June 21). Then the sun reaches its northernmost point above the earth and at noon it reaches its highest point of the year. According to the forecast, on this first day of summer there will be cumulus clouds and local showers and thunderstorms, especially in the south and south-west. In the northern half it will be 22 to 28 degrees warm, on the coasts it will be a little cooler. To the south it will be even hotter with 27 to 33 degrees.
The high temperatures are not harmless. The state pharmacy chamber from Hesse warns of sunburn, hay fever and circulatory problems. People should drink plenty of fluids and avoid exercise in the greatest heat.
According to the Wiesbaden health department, basically everyone is affected by the dangers of the heat. However, small children, the elderly and the chronically ill are particularly at risk.
Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach warned to pay attention to older people. The SPD politician wrote on Twitter: “Please make sure that older people in particular are drinking enough today. They often feel less thirsty than is good for their bodies. Heat and lack of fluids can be deadly for the elderly. Today we are asked to also pay attention to the elderly and disabled.” The Robert Koch Institute also spoke of the heat as a health risk.
Meteorologist Andreas Matzarakis sees the heat action plans in Germany as a good basis for reacting. “But the implementation is of course the responsibility of the cities and municipalities, the regional councils and districts. And they are often not informed and prepared,” said Matzarakis of the “Badische Zeitung” in Freiburg. If you see a heat wave coming, you have to explain: “Drink a lot, avoid the sun, reduce activities”.
According to scientists, the increase in heat waves and droughts is a direct result of global warming. The intensity as well as the duration and frequency of these phenomena are increasing.
The physicist and climatologist Friederike Otto conducts research at Imperial College in London and is a leading representative of so-called attribution research. The core of the research work is to assign extreme weather events to the climate crisis.