A Winter without Winter Weather: A February Like Easter

by | Feb 28, 2024 | Explore Local | 0 comments

The End of Winter in Sachsen

In Sachsen, Germany, meteorologists are declaring the end of winter, and what an unusual winter it has been. With record lows in snow and frost, this winter has witnessed exceptionally warm weather, unlike anything seen since records began. The arrival of spring has come early, with crocuses blooming in the Erzgebirge region ahead of their usual schedule.

Image of blooming crocuses in Sachsen
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Typically, Germany experiences winter weather at this time of the year, but not this time. Throughout February, the average temperature in Sachsen reached 6.2 degrees Celsius, a new high according to the Deutsche Wetterdienst (German Weather Service). This deviation from normal conditions is unprecedented and unprecedented in the climate record. Comparatively, during the climate reference period of 1961-1990, the average temperature in Sachsen should have been around -0.3 degrees Celsius.

The entire country of Germany experienced a similar situation, with an average temperature of 6.6 degrees Celsius in February, surpassing the previous record set in 1990 by nearly a whole degree. The mild and cloudy nights played a significant role in creating these unusually high temperatures, more typical of mid-April. Mild Atlantic air flowed into Germany for most of February, resulting in consistently above-zero temperatures that felt almost like spring.

A Winter without Winter Weather

Snowfall was minimal throughout the month, except for one night in the low-lying areas of Sachsen. Most precipitation came in the form of rain, with above-average rainfall amounts across the region, except for the mountain peaks. On average, Sachsen received 81 liters per square meter of rainfall, almost double the usual amount for February. This bodes well for replenishing the soil’s moisture and has significantly alleviated concerns about drought. Groundwater levels have also recovered in Sachsen.

Despite the surplus of rain, Sachsen saw fewer hours of sunlight than normal, with only 54 hours compared to the typical 70 for February. It truly has been a winter without winter weather, with temperatures more reminiscent of Easter than the middle of winter. According to Falk Böttcher, an agricultural meteorologist at the Deutsche Wetterdienst in Leipzig, spring arrived around mid-February, a remarkable 18 days earlier than the long-term average.

An Early Arrival of Spring

The early arrival of spring is evident in the nature of Sachsen. Hazelnut trees, alder trees, and cornelian cherry trees have already begun to bloom. Snowdrops and pussy willows are also making an appearance, and since mid-February, the first forsythia flowers have been spotted in sheltered areas. Typically, these blooms would not appear until the end of March in Sachsen.

Looking ahead, the forecast suggests no signs of winter returning. The absence of freezing temperatures and snowfall indicates that spring is firmly entrenched. Despite the unconventional winter, the early arrival of spring has brought a sense of joy and anticipation to the people of Sachsen.

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