Heatwave: Germany braces for temperatures of up to 40C
With temperatures set to hit up to 40 degrees in parts of Germany this week as part of a Europe-wide heatwave, unions are calling for workers to be given longer breaks, while farmers sound the alarm about droughts and medical associations call for a heat protection plan.
Thermometer could hit 40 degrees in western Germany on Tuesday
Southern Europe has been sweating in blistering temperatures for a few days already, but now the sweltering weather is rolling over Germany. On Monday, July 18, the German Weather Service (DWD) is forecasting highs of between 29 and 34 degrees, and up to 37 degrees west of the Rhine. It will remain a little cooler in coastal regions.
On Tuesday, the temperature will turn up a notch, peaking between 34 and 38 degrees, and up to 40 degrees in some areas in the southwest and west, according to the DWD. In the northeast, the high will be around 30 to 34 degrees, and between 23 and 29 degrees on the coast.
Thankfully, however, the extreme heat is only set to last for a couple of days, before Wednesday brings cooler temperatures and a wash of thunderstorms and clouds. The east and southeast will be the only parts of the country still feeling the heat, with highs of up to 39 degrees forecast, but elsewhere the temperature will return to somewhere between 27 and 34 degrees.
Heatwave sweeps across Europe
A bout of extreme heat in recent days has seen millions of people across Europe affected by weather warnings, droughts and forest fires. Both France and the UK have recently initiated the highest heat warning level, while countless forest fires rage in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece.
In view of the punishing temperatures forecast for the next few days in Germany, the ver.di trade union is calling for more employees to be given Hitzefrei (time off work due to the heat) or longer breaks. The union’s head of policy, Norbert Reuter, told RND that arrangements should be made for employees to make up their working hours at a later date, if necessary.
Meanwhile, the Marburger Bund, an association of health professionals and doctors in Germany, has called for a national heat protection plan and a heat awareness campaign. “Politicians must significantly expand their efforts for protective measures during heatwaves,” said chairperson Susanne Johna. She said heat protection plans could help nursing homes, hospitals and other healthcare facilities prepare for heatwaves, while informing the population how to behave.
The German Farmers’ Association has further sounded the alarm about the upcoming harvest, with president Joachim Rukwied stating that the heat and drought will contribute to “big losses”. Crops such as corn and potatoes are suffering in the heat and will likely be severely impacted if it doesn’t rain soon, Rukwied said.