Mid of Germany

Miniature wonderland

By: barbamz, 2:57 PM GMT on December 26, 2013

Miniature "Wunderland" (in German; means "wonderland") somehow matches "Wunderground" and moreover the time after Christmas when fathers used to play with the electric toys they've endowed their sons at Christmas :) In Germany, model trains and miniature railroad systems, made by Maerklin company, were the hit, at least in former times before all the digital gadgets with internet access have been invented.

But for many years there's now a new attraction connected with those little trains: The "Miniatur Wunderland" in Hamburg, which was founded in 2000 and was growing from year to year up to 1300 square meters right now (and will grow further). I haven't been there by myself yet, but brother and nephew were.

Here are two nice new overview videos (first one with English comments, but maybe with heavy German accent, lol), so have a look by yourself and enjoy!

As you see, it's not only about trains, but cars, ships and even airplanes too, with a lot of "real" city architecture, events, daily life and beautiful landscapes of several continents in the world.

Wikipedia English about "Wunderland"

The official wunderland-site in English:
Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg
The largest model railway in the world, and one of the most successful permanent exhibitions in Northern Germany.


Latest event in Wunderland:

In November 2013, "Elbphilharmonie", the new ambitious concert hall in Hamburg was opened - in "Miniatur Wunderland" of course, because in reality it's under construction for already many many years, swallowing hundreds of millions more money than originally expected.

Wikipedia English about Elbe Philharmonic Hall.

Concert hall spends €300 on a toilet brush
The Local, published: 18 Nov 2013 12:15 GMT+01:00
The costs of a new concert hall in Hamburg, which have exploded to €800 million, are under further fire after almost €1,000 was spent on a paper towel dispenser and €300 on a toilet brush...

Another video of the opening event in Miniatur Wunderland.

News about it on the official wunderland-site.


From the American part of Wunderland: Bushfire

Nice long video (30min) with many enchanting details (American part starts at 23:50):

This video was recorded by cameras on top of several vehicles:

The making of: German background report with insights into the engineering efforts (example in the first part: updating an old shooting scenery in "Las Vegas"; next part: updating "Austria") and hidden views of the Wunderland (with 230 employees now; starting with 30 in the beginnings):

Of course there are a lot more amateur videos from all parts of "Miniatur Wunderland."

Check it out on youtube.com and look for "Miniatur Wunderland" ... You're welcome to post the findings you like most into my blog.

Updated: 7:31 PM GMT on December 26, 2013


Cheerful German Christmas Market

By: barbamz, 10:12 PM GMT on December 21, 2013

I've visited our Christmas Market in Mainz, Germany, this afternoon and recorded some impressions for you. The market was packed with people, so the video is a bit pumpy.

The melody, played by recorders in the first part, is from the old Christmas song: "Alle Jahre wieder ..." = "Every year again".

Literal prose translation

Every year again
Comes the Christ Child
Down to earth
Where we humans are.

Stops with his blessing
At every house
Walks on all paths
With us in and out.

Stands also at my side
Quietly and unrecognized
To guide me loyally
By the dear hand.



For all who are looking for a nice screen saver for Christmas: This photo showing volcano Teide/Tenerife, showered by the Geminid meteors, was taken by photographer Casado on December 17th.
Nasa's Image of the day: Link to enlarge.

Updated: 5:55 PM GMT on December 22, 2013


Nothing new ;-)

By: barbamz, 7:25 PM GMT on December 16, 2013

... just the old moon.

As I see the world these days mostly from the windows of my office ;-) this was the outlook this evening with the raising moon. To the right the so called Holzturm (wood tower), 15th century, part of the former city walls in Mainz on Rhine River. The tower isn't made of wood though, but got its name because in former times wood was piled up nearby. Photo sure is nothing spectacular, because snow is lacking :( And no snow to expect for the next fortnight ...

Still some days to go with a lot of work. And no Christmas shopping done yet *sigh*.

Latest gfs forecast for Christmas. Source for updates.

Updated: 1:50 PM GMT on December 21, 2013



By: barbamz, 12:47 AM GMT on December 04, 2013

Radar Europe with lightnings. Source.

Update December 10:
Here some victims of our European storm Xaver, some of which survived and some unfortunately not. Stay well everyone!

U.K. Rescue Center Overrun With Orphaned (And Adorable) Seal Pups
by Eyder Peralta, December 10, 201311:24 AM

Dozens of seal pups missing after hurricane
Published: 10 Dec 2013 16:11 GMT 01:00
(Okay, take the "hurricane" with humor, it's the translation of German "Orkan" with the same roots in language as "hurricane".)

Lost beaches and coast line in the german island of Sylt (missing seal pubs are from another island, Helgoland, though). More.

Update December 6:

Giant waves at Whitehaven/Cumbria/UK.

German Island Sylt, showing severe erosion of the vulnerable island. There are views of a beacon which already was endangered by storm Christian some weeks earlier. Now the whole land tongue is gone (and they already gave it up after Christian hit). So Germany shrinks, sigh ;)

Death toll unfortunately is at 7 now:
Deadly storm and tidal surge batter northern Europe
BBC News, 6 December 2013 Last updated at 18:15 GMT
Hurricane-force winds and tidal surges have killed at least seven people in northern Europe, flooded parts of Hamburg and left thousands of homes without electricity. ....

Edit: According to German news death toll is at 10 now ...


Forecast maps for wind development.


Present tide readings for Hamburg (should update when refresh, notice: the orange markers show the predicted hight of the next tides!!!!):

Interactive map for more locations.


German live report with maps and pics.


Radar Germany.


Latest weather readings Germany (FF = average wind in km/h; FX = Top gales in km/h.)

Thunderstorms and lightning associated with Xaver. Source.

From Facebook site of the official German Weather Service DWD. Look here for more.

Live streaming webcam Sylt.

Map of Sylt (Northern Germany):


Live streaming webcam Thyboroen/Denmark.

Location see wikipedia.

Xaver (saved images). Source for update.

Source DWD; will update.

From earlier:

Main entry from Dr. Masters just has been dedicated to Xaver. Look there, it's much better than my informations.


Gale-Force Winds: Germans Brace for Major Winter Storm

English Spiegel, December 4

From earlier:

Germany is going to see a very severe wind and winter storm at Thursday and Friday. Not so much at my place in the mid of the country but at its northern parts, especially in the islands and particularily in those regions with bayous of the Northern Sea. "Xaver", as the storm is named in Berlin, could be especially dangerous, as its winds with up to 180 kmh = 112 mph will coincide with a spring tide (tidal wave), creating a huge sturm surge in these bayous (City of Hamburg is at the end of one of them).

These weather conditions are somehow traumatic for (elderly) people in Germany as they remember the storm surge of 1962 which caused the death of 340 people (315 in the region of Hamburg).

Wilhelmsburg 1962 (Source wikipedia)

Of course, levees are built up higher now than in 1962 and weather forecasts improved a lot. Nevertheless its dangerous, and the storm may cause severe flooding and erosion in the islands and coastal regions of Germany and Denmark, apart from devastating winds which could reach far inland.

We'll see how it pans out, as those storms usually develop only a few hours before they hit.

Unfortunately I won't have much/any time to stick around here in the next days and weeks. So I hope I get some help from our fellow bloggers in Europe and from you all to cover this development, in case it becomes a significant one.

BBC published a little weather video today, but it's mostly focused on the British Islands.

This is the latest GFS pressure map (500 hpa), posted on a German weatherblog:

This is the alert map from wetteronline.de for Thursday (I'm in the not dangerous green zone):

WRF wind forecast (850hpa) for Thursday in knots:

(Saved image)

Forecast map published on German Spiegel Online.

Estofex discussion December 3:

... Northern Ireland, Scotland ...

In the exit region of a cyclonically curved jet-stream, reaching over 80 m/s at 300 hPa level, rapid cyclogenesis is forecast over the Atlantic and the center of the low is forecast to be centered just north of Scotland by Thursday 06 UTC. Intense pressure / geopotential gradient will support windspeeds of 40 to 50 m/s in 925 to 850 hPa level. Both GFS and ECMWF simulate marginal CAPE values just behind the main stratiform rain shield, suggesting split-front character. CAPE should be connected to a tongue of moister airmass just ahead of the surface cold front, so that strong forcing might support a compact, linearly oriented, low-topped convective system. With intense vertical wind field, such system could contribute to the "downward mixing" of momentum and extremely severe wind gusts will be well possible, especially over Scotland around 06 UTC. Tornadoes should be possible too given extreme low level wind shear and low cloud bases, but will likely be limited by the lack of isolated supercell mode. For the region with the highest threat, Level 2 seems to be warranted.


Link: My last blog entry about wild weather and huge waves in Italy.

Link: Pics and reports of my little autumn vacation near Frankfurt.

Updated: 11:10 PM GMT on December 11, 2013


Mediterranean severe weather

By: barbamz, 9:46 PM GMT on December 01, 2013

December 3: Some maps of the severe winter storm which could hit northern Germany two days ahead see comment section. Don't have much time at present, unfortunately ....


Well, as the weather in the Mediterranean keeps on to be very exciting, I'd like to save my posts from today in the main blog (December, 1) here (and as I've spent hiking vacations as well in Southern Italy/Puglia as in Sicily/near Taormina I'm personally very fond of these regions affected):

Lots of snow (record?) of more than 1 meter (3 feet) in the mountainous region of the Abbruzzo (mid Italy, Adriatic coast).

Source and more pics.

Saved image. Source.

Wave heights forecast for this morning (saved image). Source.

There are reports in Italian that waves above 10meters (32feet) hit the coast at Crotone (Southern Italy, Ionian Sea) this morning.

Webcam pic from Crotone. Source see above.


And of course severe amounts of rain with floodings in southern regions of Italy, including Sicily.

From Estofex
The Sicilian low pressure area originates south of Malta and deepens to about 993 hPa (GFS) at 06Z, after which it weakens. The pressure gradient as a result becomes steep over southern Italy and sets up a strong southeasterly flow advecting a warm moist air sector onshore. There is already significant convective activity in this region. A cold front moves up north across the east coast of Sicily to the entrance of the Adriatic Sea in a time span of 6 hours, and focuses an "atmospheric river" of large moisture transport vectors over the higher terrain of southern Italy. Very persistent thunderstorm clusters should ride the coastline and release locally 40 to over 100 millimeters of rain in 3 hours as predicted by models of the HNMS and LaMMA. The GFS model produces lots of convective rain across southeastern Greece also, during afternoon/evening and night, but the high-res models are more conservative. This is where MLCAPE values in GFS are higher than 1000 J/kg, while it barely exceeds 500 J/kg elsewhere.
In most of this area there is moderate deep layer and low level shear in support of a mix of multicells with occasional supercells. Isolated large hail and a few waterspout or mesocyclonical type tornadoes are not ruled out.

Waves of about 32ft roll over the levee of the harbour in Crotone.

Still image of the same scenery in Ciro Marina/Province of Crotone. Source and more live coverage in Italian.

BTW: This cyclonic weathersystem was named as "Nettuno" = Neptune in Italy. Not named on German weathermaps yet.

Neptune, god of water, horses and the sea (source wikipedia).

Italian weather alerts pointed out that the strength of the system is comparable to a Cat1-hurricane.

Live streaming web cam in Catanzaro.

Ginosa/Calabria. Source here.

Source and translation from Italian:
Stormy sea invades countries of the Ionian coast as if it were a tsunami. Probably due to widespread weather warnings for many days there are no injuries reported so far. More delicate is the situation off the coast of Crotone, where vessels and an aircraft from Coast Guard are trying to rescue a boat adrift with about one hundred migrants on board. It's located 70 km off the coast. In the area weather conditions are very bad: Sea at level 7 and winds of 50 knots make it impossible to approach the vessel. ...

Source Meteo Portale Italia. 114km = 70 mph at the Eastern Coast of Sardinia.

Video of the little vessel with the refugees off the coast of Southern Italy and attempts of the coastguard to reach it - unsuccessfully so far. May those people survive!

Gallery with photos and videos of the storm and floodings in Southern Italy.

It has been a dangerous day for trains (very sorry to learn about the news from NY). This one luckily escaped havoc at the coast of Sicily (Taormina, near volcano Etna):

Still image of the same scenery. Source.

As much as I've seen in Italian news (no international news coverage so far): With a wave of 11,8 meters = 38 ft at the coast of Crotone (Southern Italy), forced by subtropical cyclone "Neptune", a new Italian record might have been set today.

Quoting in translation:
It is a National Historic record: never in Italy such a high wave was measured, will mean: for more than 30 years, since there have been official surveys with buoys off the various ports. The previous record dates back a few days ago in Sardinia: At Capo Caccia on November 11, 2013, during the "Storm of St. Martin" a wave was measured with 10.5 meters. Two extreme events so close together really are a clear sign of how much the Italian climate is becoming more extreme.

This photo shows a huuuuge wave at the coast of nearby Catanzaro January 2009 . Mediterranean can be pretty scary, no?


My old blog with my own holiday pics and some more personal videos at or near my place in Mainz and moreover the coverage of comet ISON are here; thanks for all your comments, folks!


As Comet ISON finally faded out after a short comeback (*sniff*), I put up my own star-comet into my window, as every year when Advent arrives. Of course with a low energy bulb, lol.

Updated: 10:27 AM GMT on December 03, 2013


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Mid of Germany

About barbamz

I'm Barbara in Germany (Mainz), and I'm interested in weather already for decades.

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