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Record March Heat in Germany/Heavy Rain in Egyptian Desert

By: Christopher C. Burt, 8:31 PM GMT on March 12, 2014

Record Early March Heat in Germany/Rare Heavy Rain in Egyptian Desert

There are two interesting global weather stories this week. Germany has just enjoyed its warmest early March temperatures on record while an exceptionally rare heavy rainstorm occurred in Luxor and Aswan, Egypt--two of the driest places on earth.

German March ‘heat wave’

On March 9th (last Sunday) Germany recorded its highest temperatures ever measured during the March 1-10 period of the month. Numerous cites broke their records for such, with Lippstadt leading the way at 23.7°C (74.7°F), the warmest temperature ever measured anywhere in Germany prior to March 10th. Unofficial readings of 24.4°C (75.9°F) were reported from Soest and 24.1°C (75.4°F) at Unna and Rietburg. Widespread temperatures above 20°C (68°F) were observed in North Rhine Westphalia and Lower Saxony (Germany’s west and northwest) and early spring flowers (daffodils, crocuses, etc..) are blooming even in northern Germany following what has been an exceptionally warm winter (the 4th warmest on record since 1881).

Germans enjoy a warm winter Sunday afternoon picnic in a park in Bonn, Germany. Photo by Denis Moller.

Official new records for the first third of March were set at many locations including:

Munster 22.4°C (72.3°F) former record 19.1°C (66.4°F)

Koln/Bonn 21.1°C (70.0°F) former record 19.8°C (67.6°F)

Dusseldorf 20.9°C (69.6°F) former record 20.2°C (68.4°F)

Aachen 20.8°C (69.4°F) former record 20.2°C (68.4°F) POR back to 1891

Hannover 20.2°C (68.4°F) former record 18.4°C (65.1°F)

Hamburg 20.0°C (68.0°F) former record 17.6°C (63.7°F) POR back to 1891

Bremen 19.5°C (67.1°F) former record 18.2°C (64.8°F) POR back to 1890

Kiel 19.3°C (66.7°F) former record 16.7°C (62.1F)

Bremerhaven 18.7°C (65.7°F) former record 16.5°C (61.7°F)

Helgoland 10.6°C (51.1°F) former record 10.5°C (50.9°F)

Map of maximum observed temperatures (C°) on Sunday March 9th in Germany. Those with stars around the figure are sites reporting their all-time record early March (March 1-10) high temperatures. Map from WetterOnline where a full list of record values observed may be found.

Egyptian Desert Rain

Extremely rare heavy rainfall has soaked portions of the Upper Egypt Nile River region, one of the driest places on earth. Luxor (home of the world-famous Valley of the Kings) picked up an astonishing 30 mm (1.18”) of rain on March 9-10, of which 21 mm (0.83”) fell in just the course of a few hours. The annual average rainfall for Luxor is just .04” (a little over 1 mm).

Climate data for Luxor. Note the paltry average annual rainfall of .04”, just over 1 mm. Only portions of Chile’s Atacama Desert are drier. Table from Wikipedia.

Aswan received 15 mm (0.59”) also on March 9-10 (Aswan’s average annual precipitation is 1.4 mm/.06”). It was the first measurable rainfall in Aswan since October 2012. The rainfall in Aswan and Luxor was accompanied by thunder and hail according to news reports. The last major flood disaster in the region occurred in early November 1994 when torrential rains in Luxor caused serious flooding and in Durunka (about 100 miles down river from Luxor) a flood caused a bridge to collapse on two fuel storage tanks which then exploded. The fiery flood that resulted killed over 500 in the city of 20,000.

KUDOS: Thanks to Michael Theusner of Klimahaus in Bremerhaven, Germany for the information on Germany’s heat wave and Maximiliano Herrera for the Egypt rainfall information.

Christopher C. Burt
Weather Historian

Extreme Weather Heat Precipitation Records

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