February 2017 was much too warm and with only average sunshine
Offenbach, 27 February 2017 ––At the beginning of February 2017, it was still cold in the northeast due to the influence of high pressure. However, low pressure troughs bringing milder air were already reaching into the south and west of the country. Then, from the middle of the month onwards, all parts of the country were exposed to a powerful westerly airflow that brought much precipitation. These conditions culminated on 23 February with storm gusts, particularly in the west, and spring-like temperatures in the south. Overall, February was much too warm and precipitation and sunshine were almost balanced. This is what the initial analysis by the Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD) of data from its around 2,000 weather stations shows.
Cold wintry weather in the north-east at the start of the month, with mild spring-like weather in the south at the end
At 3.0 degrees Celsius (°C), the temperature in February was 2.6 degrees higher than the average for the international reference period 1961–1990. When compared to the warmer 1981–2010 period, the deviation was +2.1 degrees. During the first half of the month, the Atlantic troughs were unable to make any headway against the high air pressure above eastern Europe. This resulted in stark differences in temperature between the mild maritime air in the south and the west and cold continental air in north-eastern Germany. In the night of 2 February, for instance, the temperature in Dippoldiswalde-Reinberg near Dresden fell to -15.7 °C, the lowest temperature nationwide during the month while the temperature measured by the DWD in Müllheim near Freiburg was +14.5 °C. In mid-February, 'Erika', the high pressure system blocking the Atlantic troughs, retreated to south-east Europe. This was also the end of the period of cold weather in north-eastern Germany. In the other parts of the country, the flow of very mild, almost spring-like warm air gathered strength, particularly with the arrival of storm cyclone 'Thomas' on 23 February. The highest temperatures were in Rosenheim and Simbach am Inn, each recording 21.5 °C.
Initially very little rain or snow, later more precipitation
At 48 litres per square metre (l/m²) on average, precipitation was almost exactly the average of 49 l/m². At the start of February, when the low pressure system 'Hubert' passed, the blanket of snow covering the northern foothills of the Ore Mountains increased to around 50 cm, even at altitudes below 500 m. After that, the high pressure system ‘Erika’ moving between Scandinavia and Poland frequently brought dry conditions to the north-east. The various weak low pressure troughs and low pressure systems that were well developed only at the upper level did not bring much rain, even to the south and west. It was not until the middle of the month that a strong westerly flow gathered strength and brought greater precipitation to the whole of Germany. The highest daily rainfall figure was on 21 February in Ruhpolding-Seehaus in the Chiemgau, where a total of 67.0 l/m² were recorded. Most precipitation overall fell in the Sauerland and the Black Forest, where up to 140 l/m2 were recorded.
A balanced month for sunshine
At around 75 hours, the sunshine duration in February 2017 was just over the long-term average of 72 hours. Most sunshine was recorded in Upper and Lower Bavaria, with some places receiving over 110 hours. Schleswig-Holstein received least sunshine, with some places only seeing 35 hours.