Bonn In Western Germany, temperatures above 40 degrees are expected again on Thursday. In Bonn, a temperature of 38.7 degrees was measured on Wednesday noon – the hottest temperature in Germany at that time.
At 2.30 p.m. Bonn reached the top position on the heat map of Germany, when a temperature of 38.7 degrees was measured in Bonn-Roleber, as the German Weather Service (DWD) reported. This was the hottest place in Germany at that time. Weilerswist ranked just behind Bonn with 38 degrees and Bad-Neuenahr with 37.5 degrees. The maximum values had not yet been reached, however; at 4 p.m., 39.5 degrees was reached in Weilerswist and in Bonn-Roleber, it was 39.4 degrees, reported the DWD.
The local weather services in Bonn recorded even higher temperatures; however, whether the German Weather Service officially recognises these remains to be seen. According to GA weather statistician Klaus Kosack, this Wednesday in Bonn not only exceeded this year’s temperature record of July 23 with 36.2 degrees Celsius, but was also the hottest day since 1895. “The mercury in Bonn-Endenich at 4.45 p.m. showed an incredible 40.8 degrees Celsius in the shade”, Kosack announced. This was the hottest day since 1895.
“At the same time, the long-standing daily maximum of 38.5 degrees Celsius of 24 July 1911 was exceeded”, said Kosack. The new maximum value is 1.6 degrees Celsius higher than the maximum temperature of 39.2 degrees Celsius in Bonn on 12 August, 2003. Weather expert Karsten Brandt of the Bonn weather service donnerwetter.de even measured 41.2 degrees in Bechlinghoven.
According to the DWD, the national heat record was broken on Wednesday in the town of Geilenkirchen north of Aachen, where 40.5 degrees was measured. This surpassed the previous German all-time record of 40.3 degrees set on July 5, 2015 in Kitzingen, Bavaria. Second place was Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler with 39.9 degrees.
However, these records will only last for a short time: the DWD experts assume that temperatures will continue to rise. “It will get even hotter”, a DWD spokesman announced. The meteorologists assume that a city in North Rhine-Westphalia could become the new number one on the official DWD heat hit-list.
The region around Cologne and the Lower Rhine is of particular interest to the experts. In the Rhineland, it could even reach 40 degrees for the first time for three days in a row. “This would be a sensation and a piece of German climate history”, says DWD spokesman Andreas Friedrich. “If the models are correct, we will break the previous record several times”.
Warning from the Red Cross
Brandt warns above all against the long-term effects: “Climate change will rapidly cause the number of heatwave days in the coming years to increase. We must prepare for this”. The city of Bonn must also prepare itself better to protect its residents from heat, which poses a health hazard.
(This video is part of a cooperation between WDR and GA.)
The Red Cross also warns urgently: “Heat waves are among the most deadly natural hazards for mankind, and the danger they pose will only become more serious and widespread as the climate crisis progresses”. Suitable measures would include green areas, green roofs, car-free zones and white-painted surfaces. The danger should not be underestimated. “Silent storms”, Karsten Brandt calls these heat waves, because they are so insidious and don’t arrive like a thunderstorm with lightning and thunder. Above all, the energy supply is critical when more and more air conditioners have to be used, says Brandt. A rethink in politics must take place.
Although the week days this week with rather dry heat will be still to some extent bearable, the weather situation will change at the weekend. Friday and Saturday will be a little cooler, but with temperatures over 30 degrees there will be thunderstorms and high humidity. As things stand at the moment, the temperatures should remain constantly warm in the following week. In some parts of the region, the risk of forest fires will rise on Friday up to the fourth level.
The reason for the hot weather is the high-pressure “Yvonne”, which will spread over Germany until the beginning of next week and bring increasingly warm to hot air from the south.
Hot days and tropical nights
Although in suburbs such as Röttgen, Ückesdorf or the south of Ippendorf, cold air from the slopes and from the side valleys of the Kottenforst refreshes the heated districts, heat accumulates in Neu-Tannenbusch, Duisdorf, Beuel, Bad Godesberg and in the city centre.
This so-called “heat island effect” sometimes results in temperature differences of 5 to 10 degrees in Bonn and the region. In the Hofgarten alone, it can feel 3 to 4 degrees cooler than on Münsterplatz. In the Siebengebirge, Kottenforst or at the banks of the Rhine, the heat is much more bearable.
A bit of cooling down is therefore in order. Statistically speaking, it is coolest in midsummer at 4 o’clock in the morning. The temperatures in the next days will hardly drop below the 20-degree mark. Five possible so-called tropical nights in a row, in which the temperature does not fall below 20 degrees, would be “an unimaginable record for NRW”, according to DWD spokesman Friedrich. Temperatures are not expected to fall below 22 degrees on Wednesday night. And on Thursday and Friday, night-time lows of 24 degrees are predicted.
Meteorologists speak of “tropical” nights in this case. If several heatwave days and tropical nights occur in a row, the strain on the human body is nevertheless extreme –small children, elderly people and people with impaired health are particularly at risk.
What can you do?
Some things that seem tempting in heat are not good for the body. Even a cold shower, for example is a strain. “having ice-cold drinks is similar. The body then has to warm up again to the outside temperature. That costs energy”, says Dirk Skowasch, a specialist in internal medicine, cardiology and pneumology at Bonn University Hospital. Therefore, it’s better to take a lukewarm shower.
And don’t drink things that are too cold – but then drink a lot, that’s rule number one on hot summer days. “two and a half to three litres of water a day – and I emphasise water”, says Skowasch. “Don’t drink sweet soft drrinks that make you thirsty, and certainly not alcohol”. Patients with heart or high blood pressure problems should discuss a suitable plan for drinking with their doctor.
The Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) also warns against alcoholic beverages. “Alcohol works faster and more intensively in hot and sunny conditions. As a physical consequence, the blood vessels dilate. This lowers blood pressure and increases the risk of circulatory collapse”, says Heidrun Thaiss, head of the BZgA.
You should also not do any sport. “No sport in the midday heat and with such high temperatures, preferably not at all , advises physician Skowasch. Outdoor activities should be postponed until the morning or evening hours. Skowasch also recommends taking your meals slowly: “It’s better to eat several small meals, fruit and vegetables”.
The Employment Agency Bonn/Rhein-Sieg will close today, Thursday, at 2 p.m. “The workers are free because of the heat”, explained press speaker Lars Normann to the General-Anzeiger on request. In the afternoon, the careers information centre, the Familienkasse and the medical service in Bonn as well as the employment agencies in Siegburg, Königswinter and Eitorf are also closed. Agreed consultation appointments are not affected. The agency can be reached by telephone as usual from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. under the free service number 08 00/4 55 55 00.
It was only in 2018 that the second highest temperature of 39.1 degrees Celsius was ever measured in Bonn since 1895, the beginning of weather records. The record was 39.2 degrees, measured on 12 August 2003. The highest July maximum for NRW was previously measured at 39.3 degrees in Cologne on 4 July 1957.
According to the DWD, the average temperature in Germany has risen by about 1.3 degrees since the beginning of weather recording in 1881. “Heat waves, such as the on at the end of June, are five times more likely than 50 years ago”, said Friedrich.
(with dpa material)
(Original text: Sebastian Meltz, Michael Wrobel, translation John Chandler)