The poor Easter Bunny deserves our sympathy. Whereas in recent years he has grown used to dodging daffodils, lilies and tulips as he carries his cargo of eggs and chocolate to homes across northern Europe, this year the rabbit will find himself confronted with ice slicks, snow drifts and bundled up humans in foul moods.
Easter, after all, may be upon us. But spring weather most definitely is not. Biologists are warning that the Easter Bunny's wild brethren, European hares, are having trouble keeping their broods warm and healthy in the unseasonable chill. Meteorologists are keeping close tabs on thermometers to determine whether this March will go down as the coldest ever -- since records began in the 1880s. And wiseacres on the streets of Berlin have not yet tired of noting that Easter promises to be colder than last Christmas.
And it's not just the northern regions of Continental Europe where the Easter Bunny will encounter problems. Great Britain and Ireland are likewise suffering through unseasonable weather, with power outages threatening the roast lamb and snow drifts making hopping difficult. Russia and Ukraine are also suffering.
In northern Germany, the weather has been particularly notable for its persistent putrescence. Following a winter that broke all records for its lack of sunshine -- with just 91.2 hours of sunshine, total, from the beginning of December to the end of February -- the sun has in recent days emerged from behind the haze.
No Improvement in Sight
But it has not brought even a bit of warmth. High pressure system Jill and low pressure system Dieter have joined forces to torpedo an Easter full of the flowers and pastels we have come to expect. The average temperature in the northern German states of Berlin, Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt has been minus 2 degrees Celsius (28.4 degrees Fahrenheit) this month. If Jack Frost doesn't head back to Siberia soon, this March could break the record established in 1883, two years after records began. For Germany as a whole, the month will likely end up as the coldest March in 25 years.
Surely, one might think, spring is just around the corner? Not so, say meteorologists. The Easter Bunny will find himself confronted with snow and sleet in northern Germany on Sunday. And there is no improvement in sight.