Forecast models indicate a heatwave will persist across much of Germany through at least July 20. Temperatures up to 37 C (97 F) are forecast west of the Rhine July 18 and temperatures of 29-34 C (84-93 F) are expected across much of the rest of the country, with the exception of some northeastern and southeastern areas. The heatwave is expected to peak July 19, when temperatures could reach 34-38 C (93-100 F) in many areas, with localized maximums of 40 C (104 F) possible in the west and southwest. Slightly lower temperatures are forecast July 20 and thunderstorms may spread across western and central parts of Germany.
As of July 18, the Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD) has issued heat warnings (the lowest level on a two-tier scale) across much of the country, with the exception of some southern, southeastern, and northeastern areas. Further warnings will likely be issued in the coming days across much of the country and may increase in severity as temperatures continue to rise.
The extended period of oppressive heat and dry conditions may produce ideal circumstances for additional wildfire growth throughout the region. Heatwaves also pose a threat to vulnerable groups – such as the elderly, children, pregnant women, and those with respiratory illnesses – due to the increased possibility of heat stroke or heat exhaustion during prolonged exposure to high temperatures. These health risks could also extend to relatively healthy individuals during significant heatwave events. In addition to significantly impacting athletes and those who work outdoors, high temperatures can cause problems for people using mass transit. The lack of air conditioning and cramped vehicles during rush hour may lead to some passengers being hospitalized for dehydration.
Transport and Utilities
Very high temperatures may warp rail tracks and force passenger and freight trains to operate at reduced speeds. Road surface damage is also possible, and overheated vehicles may worsen traffic problems in urban areas where congestion is already a problem. Commercial trucking disruptions might occur, as very high temperatures put more stress on engines, making tire blowouts more common. Major flight disruptions are unlikely at regional airports, but general aviation disruptions are possible, and some airfreight carriers could reduce cargo loads. High temperatures could lead to an increased demand for electricity, which might trigger localized brownouts or blackouts, exacerbating hazardous conditions when air conditioning is no longer possible.
Monitor local media for weather updates and related advisories. During heatwaves, remain indoors in air conditioning when possible. If outdoor activities are necessary, frequently rest in shaded areas; avoid activity during the hottest times of the day. Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid alcoholic beverages, which are dehydrating; drink water that is bottled or has been boiled. Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Cotton fabrics are more cooling than synthetics. Promptly seek medical attention if signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke develop. Charge battery-powered devices in case prolonged electricity outages occur.
Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD)