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Climate and Weather

Germany - Climate and Weather


Germany has a relatively moderate climate with few extreme weather patterns, although it can be frustratingly unpredictable. Its climate is grouped into four seasons – spring (March, April, May), summer (June, July, August), autumn (September, October, November) and winter (December, January, February).

The weather in Germany varies from North to South and East to West, with altitude being the most determinant factor for weather patterns. In the North of the country, closer to its coastline, you find a maritime climate determined by the North Atlantic Drift. This means that the region experiences warm summers and mild winters with less difference between seasons. It can also get fairly foggy in the autumn and winter. As you travel further inland there is a wider temperature range, with the summers becoming warmer and winters becoming colder. In general, the East of the country is colder than the West and the South West of the country is the warmest region by far with an almost Mediterranean climate (and is therefore a popular wine growing region). The Alpine regions (and parts of the Central German Uplands) are an exception to the Southern warmth as they have a mountain climate, meaning they experience lower temperatures and greater levels of rain and snow fall. Overall though the majority of the country can be considered to have a continental climate, which can be unpredictable and can vary considerably from year to year.

January is usually the coldest month and temperatures can range between averages of -2oC and 3oC depending on the region. July is generally the warmest month and will see average temperatures ranging between 16oC and 30oC.

Rain is possible at any time throughout the year and heavy snowfall may occur in winter. The number of rainy days per month will vary on average from 9 to 18 days and the annual precipitation levels vary widely depending on the region – from around 400 millimetres per year in Central Germany to 2000 millimetres per year in the Southern mountains. It is believed that climate change is contributing to overall increased rainfall, particularly in autumn, winter and spring months. The number of annual sunshine hours is around 1500 hours in Northern and Central Germany and around 1600 hours in Southern Germany, although it is possible to have extended periods of time with little sunny weather and mainly overcast days. Humidity is not normally a problem in Germany although December is the most humid month and May is usually the least humid. Humidity levels will range from between 60% and 80%. Due to the varying climate and consistent rainfall Germany is a very green and beautiful country that is highly suitable for agriculture.

In Germany it is recommended to warm clothing in winter months and more lightweight clothing in summer months (although it is likely you will need a sweater or similar garments all year round). You should also be prepared for rain with suitable waterproof clothing throughout the year. The main tourist season in Germany is between May and September when visitors take advantage of the more pleasant, warm weather (as well as school holidays). However, rainfall can often be higher in summer months so German nationals frequently embrace the milder spring and autumn months too as an opportunity for spending time outdoors. December is a popular month for tourists due to the famous Christmas Markets that are held throughout the country and with consistent snow across the Alpine peaks in winter months, this is a popular region for winter sports.

With very few extreme weather patterns or environmental dangers, Germany is a very safe country to live in. The main threats posed are from heavy storms resulting from both low-pressure and high-pressure systems of air mass which travel in different directions. These cause the country to experience hail, lightning, heavy rain and strong winds. Due to the high Alpine regions, it sometimes happens that warm tropical air is drawn across the mountains (popularly known as the föhn) which also generates strong wind and gales. In recent years storms have taken the lives of several people in Germany and there has been extensive damage to property. Many German nationals also believe that the föhn winds cause frequent illnesses and unpleasant medical symptoms.


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