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March Heat Wave in Central Europe

By: Christopher C. Burt, 7:15 PM GMT on March 19, 2014

March Heat Wave in Central Europe

Just as the cold and snow has persisted through March in the eastern U.S. so has the unusual warmth in Europe. The record warm temperatures set at many locations earlier this month in France, Germany, and the Low Countries has now settled in over Switzerland, northern Italy, and other central European countries. Here are some details.

A bubble of high pressure centered over Switzerland has brought near all-time March heat to the country and surrounding nations. Map from WetterOnline.


The southern Alpine region has seen the most impressive temperature anomalies. Lugano, Switzerland reached 27.0°C (80.6°F) on March 18th, the 2nd warmest March temperature ever measured in the city. Aosta, Italy at 500 m (1500’) elevation and near Mt. Blanc (Europe’s highest mountain) soared to an incredible 30.0°C (86.0°F) as a result of local down sloping winds. Geneva reached 22.5°C (72.5°F) its warmest so early in the season but well short of its March record of (77°F). Geneva’s normal daily high temperature for this time of the year is 11.2°C (52.2°F). Other Swiss cities that set at least daily record highs include: Sion 22.5°C (72.5°F); Stabio 26.4°C (79.6°F); Locarno 26.3°C (79.3°F); and Grono 25.5°C (77.9°F).

Other high temperatures were observed aside from Switzerland on either March 17 or March 18th, with the highest by nation as follows:

Bosnia-Herzegovina: 29.2°C (84.6°F) at Zenica

Spain: 27.9°C (82.2°F) at Murcia

Slovenia: 27.0°C (80.6°F) at Cronomelj

France: 26.8°C (80.2°F) at Beziers-Vias

Bulgaria: 26.0°C (78.8°F at Varna

Austria: 24.3°C (75.7°) at Saint Andrae

Somewhere in there is the Eifel Tower. The warm and stagnant air mass that has settled over Western Europe for the past week resulted in a smog emergency in Paris for the past five days. Conditions improved yesterday (March 18th). Photo from Insideeevs.com

Cooler weather is forecast to push through Switzerland today and Thursday while the heat may build over southeastern Europe in places like Slovenia and Romania.

KUDOS: Thanks to Maximilianao Hererra for some of the above figures.

Christopher C. Burt
Weather Historian

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The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

I wonder how much the heat wave reduced natural gas consumption in Western Europe and how that pertains to the Ukrainian crisis now.
"Let’s do what we can to help. " and this is my contribution; As the world is and will be experiencing earth changes, we, they and them, must also change. Changes in where and when to plant our food. Changes in that we live in a mobile environment and yes ridiculous as it sounds, the likes of mobile orange groves! With a mobile world the thing now needed is the science to tell us when and where to move and thats where I come in. I have trudged through the barren lands of Canada’s arctic and have seen evidence that this land in times past was subject to salt water ocean, evidence of prehistoric inhabitants that would indicate a tropical environment. California sure gets around doesn’t it! In the year ? mammoths are thriving in warm sunny California when an asteroid hits the earth and because of debris blocking the sun an ice age develops, (hard to swallow that one!) How about the one that describes volcano activity (not that one either.) OK how about plate tectonics where California slides up to the north pole (that’s harder yet.) You have a choice here, You can either believe that the Arctic was once hot (that damn global warming thing again) and believe the garbage of plate tectonics. Or you can consider my science in that the earth moves around on its north south magnetic axis changing its exposure to both sun and moon.
Small correction,

Burgas and Sandanski, Bulgaria were 26.2C on March 19th.

http://www.ogimet.com/cgi-bin/gsynext?lang=en&sta te=Bulg&rank=100&ano=2014&mes=03&day=20&hora=00&Se nd=send
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