Usually at this time of year, the beer garden benches and tables have been placed in storage until the big thaw comes in spring. But instead of a White Christmas, many in Germany have gotten a sunny and bright weather over the past several days.
The German weather service recorded some of the highest temperatures ever for Christmas Eve in the country on Monday, with news agencies describing it as weather suitable for driving a convertible car. In Munich, beer gardens reopened to offer Christmas brews and cheers, and in one Bavarian lake swimmers could be seen splashing around amidst 20-degree Celsius (68-degrees Fahrenheit) temperatures. Street cafés in many parts of the country overflowed with guests.
On Christmas Day itself, temperatures in Berlin reached 12.7 degrees, the highest on the holiday ever recorded since the German Weather Service began tracking such data in 1876.
Unseasonably warm weather also meant massive snow melt in parts of the country, putting a damper on winter sports in the Harz mountains and parts of the Alps in Bavaria, with many ski resorts closing down their lifts. The melt also created problems along the Rhine River, where ferry services were terminated in some towns because of rising water levels. In Cologne, officials erected flood barriers as a precautionary measure, although river levels never rose to the point that they threatened the city's old town. Officials also reported rising levels on other German rivers. On Thursday, rainfall led river levels to rise again.
A low-pressure front has ensured unseasonably mild temperatures across Germany, and weather forecasters say it is unlikely that winter weather will return anywhere but in the mountains before the New Year.
This Christmas proved to be one of weather extremes across Europe. In neighboring France, summer-like temperatures of 24.3 degrees drew holiday goers out to the beaches. But in Russia, Moscow reported temperatures on Boxing Day of minus 25 degrees Celsius and the Siberia region has reported temperatures in recent days as low as minus 60 degrees Celsius. A wave of extreme cold that began in mid-December has resulted in the weather-related deaths of 120 people in Russia, 80 in Ukraine and around 60 in Poland.
dsl -- with wires
Stay informed with our free news services:
|All news from SPIEGEL International||Twitter | RSS|
|All news from Germany section||RSS|
© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2012
All Rights Reserved
Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH