European Summer 2014: Widespread heat, drought

A generally drier and warmer summer is predicted for much of the European continent.

European Summer 2014: Widespread heat, drought

A generally drier and warmer summer is predicted for much of the European continent.

The Long-Range Forecasting Team looked at historical data, particularly the years of 2002 and 2009, which experienced similar springs to help predict how this summer may turn out.

“Temperatures are going to be above normal almost everywhere,” said Meteorologist Alan Reppert. “Looking at 2009 especially, even 2002, in August it looks just really hot over the entire continent.”

For parts of central and northern Europe where air conditioning is less common, this could create some dangerous health concerns.

The dryness will be especially prominent from central to eastern Europe, spanning from Russia into eastern Germany.

“Areas as far south as Romania could be drier than normal,” said Meteorologist Eric Wanenchak. “I looked back at a couple of the analog years, and those summers were drier than normal. I could see how this year pans out in a similar way.”

Drought concerns will likely mount in these areas with a drier summer.

“The dryness from Poland through western Russia and the Ukraine will create a dry and hot summer there, which could be bad for crops,” Reppert said.

Germany, though it has received a bit of beneficial rain in the latter part of spring, is expected to dry out more and exacerbate the ongoing drought.

There may be some rainy periods stretching from Italy into the Balkans early, but those conditions will not last.

“We think most of the storminess in the Balkans will be June into the first half of July, and then after that it just goes dry,” said Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls.

Areas closer to the Black Sea are trending warmer after above-normal warmth this winter and start to spring. Istanbul, for example, is expected to stay dry and warm, though not to the extremes as areas farther north or west.

Iberian Peninsula, Western France to Dry After Early Rainfall

While the summer may start out a little bit cool in early June with some early-season rainfall, above-normal temperatures could impact Portugal, Spain and western France late July into August. Portugal and Spain, in particular, could end up receiving below-normal rainfall amounts for the season as the area dries out during the summer.

“Looking back into 2009, August was 3 C (5 to 6 F) above normal into the Paris area and Madrid,” Reppert said.

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Madrid’s average summer temperature is 24.7 C (76.5 F).

Drought, with crop impacts, will be possible in Spain and Portugal this summer, due to below-normal rainfall.

“In Spain and Portugal, there could be some issues with wildfires with the lack of rain and the hot weather,” Reppert added.

Southern France, Northern Italy, Switzerland Best Chances for Above-Normal Rain

While nearly the entire continent can expect normal to below-normal precipitation amounts, areas from northern Italy into Switzerland and parts of France or Austria have the greatest chances for some above-average rainfall amounts.

Zurich typically receives 39.12 cm (15.40 inches) of rainfall in the summer. If they do receive above-normal rainfall this summer, it may not skew their temperatures by all that much.

“Switzerland and northern Italy, with the rainfall, is my only thought on where there might be below-normal temperatures,” Reppert said.

“And if it is below normal, it won’t be by much,” Nicholls added.

While the rest of the continent scorches this summer, areas closer to the Mediterranean coast, including southern France, southern Italy and the Croatia coastline to Greece, can expect normal levels of rain and average temperatures.

United Kingdom to Start Cooler, Wetter

The United Kingdom has had one of the wettest winters on record, which will account for some lingering wetness and cooler temperatures to start the summer. However, by August that will no longer be the case.

“I think it’s going to be a lot of different than the winter was with all those storms in the U.K.,” Reppert said. “It’s going to be drying out and getting warm.”

The U.K. is expected to experience average rainfall and temperature levels overall for the season.

Scandinavia to Experience Heat Waves

Denmark has the best chance of the Scandinavian countries for some wetter weather to start the season, but come late July into August the warmth and dryness will take hold.

For Norway, Sweden and Finland, chances are greater for a prolonged warm summer from the start. Heat coming out of Russia later in the season will exacerbate the warmth later in the season, Reppert said.

The periodic heat waves for the region could skew overall seasonal averages above normal for temperatures and below normal for rainfall.

Wildfire concerns are also high for Norway, Finland and Sweden with the heat and dryness expected this summer.

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