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2017 Europe summer forecast: Heat to dominate the south; Storms to rattle Germany and Poland

By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
May 15, 2017, 6:39:35 AM EDT

Prolonged heat, including several dangerous heat waves, will be a major issue across southern and eastern Europe throughout the summer.

By contrast, a lack of lasting heat is predicted across the United Kingdom and Ireland.

In between these areas, rounds of thunderstorms will target countries from France to Poland and the Czech Republic.

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Dangerous heat waves to build over Italy, Balkans

A long, hot summer is expected across southern Europe as prolonged periods of above-normal to extreme heat take hold from Italy into the Balkan Peninsula.

This will set the stage for several dangerous heat waves throughout the summer months, especially in July and August.

Temperatures over 32 C (90 F) will be common throughout the summer, with at least one period of dangerous heat lasting for more than a week straight.

"Record-setting heat will be possible during the most intense heat waves," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert.

Locations from Macedonia and Bulgaria into Hungary and Romania will face the highest risk for multiple heat waves.

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A sunbather takes a shower at Alimos beach near Athens, Monday, July 9, 2012, amid a heat wave. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

"Another problem that will develop in the region will be smog and poor air quality," AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys said.

The weather pattern that will promote the extreme heat in southern and eastern Europe will also limit rainfall. This will heighten the risk for drought conditions despite near- to above-normal precipitation from January through April.

Following cold shots during the springtime, crops could continue to suffer across the Balkans due to a lack of rainfall and intense heat throughout the summer.

Powerful storms to erupt from France to Poland

While heat builds throughout southern and eastern Europe for much of the summer, storms will ease the warmth at times from France to Germany and Poland.

Summerlike warmth will occur in these areas; however, lasting heat will be infrequent as rain and thunderstorms develop.

Some of these storms will be severe with damaging winds, hail and isolated tornadoes.

"The most likely time for severe thunderstorms will be in the midafternoon into the early evening," Roys said.

The greatest risk for damaging thunderstorms will stretch from southern Germany into western Czech Republic and western Poland. This includes Munich and Berlin, Germany; Prague, Czech Republic; and Wroclaw, Poland.

The frequency of rain and storms will also heighten the risk for flooding farther west, from France into Switzerland and Germany.

Despite the threat for thunderstorms throughout the season, a lull in precipitation during the second half of summer could yield a short but intense heat wave across western and central Europe.

Europe Weather Center
2017 US summer forecast: Early storms to hold back heat in Northeast; Wildfires to rage in California
Interactive Europe weather satellite

Heat, thunderstorms to enhance wildfire risk in Iberian Peninsula

The Iberian Peninsula can expect another hot and largely dry summer.

"Another hot and dry summer for Spain and Portugal will increase the threat for wildfires, especially during the second half of the summer," Roys said.

Storm systems passing to the north will bring occasional fronts which will spark isolated thunderstorms, especially across the higher terrain.

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A bulldozer moves dirt to try to extinguish a wildfire Tuesday, Aug. 8 2006, near Valongo, east of Porto, northern Portugal. (AP Photo/Sergio Azenha)

However, isolated thunderstorms may increase the threat of wildfires.

These thunderstorms combined with largely hot and dry weather throughout the summer will provide critical conditions for wildfire development both in Spain and Portugal.

"Another concern is that wet weather during the winter and spring will provide increased vegetation which may result in a higher chance of fires starting and spreading," Reppert said.

Lack of extremes to highlight summer in United Kingdom, Ireland

Overall, a fairly normal summer is predicted across the British Isles with no long-lasting heat or week-long washouts.

The weather pattern will feature storms moving from the Atlantic across northern and western Europe.

This will result in occasional chances for rainfall which lasts for a day or two, followed by several days of dry weather.

The most frequent rainfall will occur across Scotland, but even there, no enhanced risk for flooding is expected.

The best chance for extended periods of dry and sunny weather will be across southern Wales and southern England.

These areas have received well below-normal rainfall since the beginning of winter.

"Across Southern England, it is possible that drought conditions develop by the end of the summer with the potential for damage to crops and water restrictions," Roys said.

This weather pattern will also shield the United Kingdom and Ireland from any prolonged periods of warmth, with an up-and-down temperature pattern likely.

Drought to build across eastern Europe

The hot and dry weather expected across Italy and the Balkans will expand into the rest of eastern Europe at times during the summer.

While the intensity of the heat is not expected to be as high from Poland into the Baltic states, Belarus and Ukraine, there will be several bouts of unseasonable warmth.

"We do expect drought conditions across much of Ukraine which may damage crops," Roys said.

"This drought, combined with any damage to crops from the cold snaps of late spring could yield a smaller crop and in turn lead to crop shortages and price increases across the rest of Europe."

Rainfall will be directed across central and northern Europe leading to drier-than-normal weather across Ukraine, Moldova and Romania.

These areas will be at risk for a building drought during the summer months, which could continue into autumn, with severe impacts on agriculture.

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