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Little Chance of a White Christmas

Forecast of Berlin Weather Map at Freie Universität Shows Rain More Likely than Snow

№ 435/2014 from Dec 17, 2014

The chances of a white Christmas in Germany are slim, according to a forecast by the Berlin weather map e. V. at Freie Universität. The mild but rainy winter weather is expected to continue, said meteorologist Petra Gebauer on Wednesday in Berlin. Between the low pressure area “Engel” near Iceland and a strong Azores high, there is a strong westerly current that continues to direct relatively mild air masses to Germany. "The mild air is bringing a lot of humidity with it, but at low altitudes the precipitation will fall mainly as rain because the temperatures will not go down to freezing, said Gebauer. In the western and southwestern parts of Germany, the temperatures are expected to be around 8 degrees (C) above freezing and in the rest of Germany about 5 degree (C).

According to Petra Gebauer, a snow cover over Christmas is unlikely, even if the low pressure area moves eastward from Iceland, bringing cold air over the North Sea to Germany, because the ground is still too warm. In that case a few snowflakes could fall in northern and eastern Germany. For the meteorologists to speak of a white Christmas, there would have to be at least a centimeter of snow on the ground for at least two of the three days of Christmas. This year that is only expected to occur at altitudes about 600 meters. In spite of its promising name, the low pressure zone "Engel," which means "angel" and will be active the week before Christmas, is unlike to bring snow.

Since weather records were begun in Berlin-Dahlem in 1908, there was snow on at least two of the three days of Christmas on average every four or five years. The warmest Christmas Eve ever recorded was December 24, 1977, with almost 16 degrees (C). The last snow cover at Christmas over large parts of Germany was four years ago, so at least statistically, a snow cover could be expected this year.

The meteorologists of Freie Universität Berlin will still be selling weather sponsorships for European high and low pressure areas as a Christmas gift through Sunday, December 21. The proceeds from these sponsorships support teaching and research at Freie Universität, and in particular, the continuous weather observation by students at the Institute of Meteorology. In 2015, the low pressure areas will have male and the high pressure areas will have female names. The sponsorship costs 299 euros for highs and 199 euros for lows, plus VAT. The weather observation series has been running for more than 100 years and is one of the longest climate documentaries worldwide.

Further Information

Interviews about Christmas Weather Forecasts:

Meteorologist on Duty at the Berlin Weather Map e. V., Institute of Meteorology, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel. +49 30 838-71212 (seven days a week; we accept phone calls between 9 a.m. and 12 noon and between 2 and 4 p.m.); Email: wetter@met.fu-berlin.de

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