2018 Europe autumn forecast: Warmth to prevail from UK to Ukraine; Wildfire danger to persist in Scandinavia

By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
August 20, 2018, 6:13:05 AM EDT

After a hot summer for much of western Europe and parts of the British Isles, warmth will keep on rolling into autumn.

The continued warm and dry weather will keep Scandinavia on high alert for wildfires throughout the season while a change to wet weather is predicted from Italy into Greece.

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Warmth to last into October across the British Isles, France and Germany

Persistent heat dominated much of western Europe throughout the summer and, while the magnitude of the heat is expected to wane by October, temperatures will continue to be well above normal from the British Isles into France and Germany.

“Temperatures will average 1-3 degrees Celsius (2-6 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal throughout the United Kingdom this autumn,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert said.

A similar or even greater divergence from normal is forecast across France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany.

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People crowd La Concha beach in the basque city of San Sebastian, northern Spain, Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

A noticeable dip in temperatures is expected by November as rainfall becomes more frequent from the U.K. into northern France and western Germany.

The arrival of late-season rain will bring not only an end to lasting unseasonable warmth but also much-needed rain to areas that dealt with drought conditions in recent months.

The most significant rain will fall from western Ireland into Northern Ireland and western Scotland; however, all of the U.K. will receive beneficial rainfall throughout November.

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"River levels will rise slowly, and the drought will lessen, especially in Wales and western England," AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys said.

"While our area of greatest concern for windstorms this autumn is from Portugal into western France, one or two named storms may impact the British Isles through November," he said.

A wet November is also expected in Paris, Brussels, and Cologne, Germany.

Farther south and east, rainfall will be more inconsistent with near- to slightly below-normal rainfall from Lyon, France, to Stuttgart and Berlin in Germany.

Italy and eastern Mediterranean to become wet, stormy

Hit-or-miss thunderstorms throughout the summer left parts of Italy, Greece and the western Balkan Peninsula drenched while others endured a hot, dry summer.

This pattern will hold into September before a significant shift toward widespread wet weather is expected from October into November.

Slow-moving storm systems will bring downpours at an increased frequency throughout Italy and neighboring parts of the western Balkan Peninsula between the Dinaric Alps and the Adriatic Sea.

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People stand amid the charred remains of burned-out cars in Mati east of Athens, Tuesday, July 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

This wet weather will expand into Greece as the season progresses, bringing an end to wildfire concerns but bringing the risk for flash flooding and mudslides, especially in areas that endured wildfires in recent years.

"Some of the storms will bring damaging hail and winds, along with an increased risk for waterspouts," Roys said.

"The areas at highest risk for damaging storms will be across Italy and Greece."

The increasing wet weather will also limit warmth across the region. While September will likely be a warmer-than-normal month, near- to below-normal temperatures are expected from October into November.

Scandinavia wildfire threat to remain high, snowfall to be limited

A hot, dry summer which turned into the worst drought in decades across parts of Scandinavia set the stage for numerous wildfires.

Sweden has been hardest hit as more than 50,000 acres burned during the summer, and drought conditions have worsened throughout the season.

Unseasonable warmth and drier-than-normal weather are expected to continue for much of autumn across the region with no significant rainfall to aid drought conditions and significantly lower the wildfire risk.

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In this photo taken on Wednesday, July 18, 2018, smoke billows from a fire outside Ljusdal, Sweden. (Maja Suslin/TT via AP)

By October and November, temperatures will trend much lower compared to the scorching summer heat; however, a lack of rainfall will still bring the risk for wildfires due to dry vegetation.

"Given the dry and very warm conditions across Scandinavia this summer and autumn, I expect the harvest to be smaller than in previous years and there could be rationing of produce and higher prices," Roys said.

Snowfall will be below normal through November in Oslo, Norway, Stockholm and Helsinki due to the combination of above-normal warmth and drier-than-normal conditions.

Windstorms to threaten Portugal, northwestern Spain and western France

While much of Europe is expecting drier-than-normal weather throughout the autumn season, locations from Portugal to western France may endure periods of storminess.

These areas will be at risk for multiple damaging windstorms from September through November.

The threat will come in a variety of forms as post-tropical storms from the Atlantic Ocean will bring the risk for impacts in September and October, followed by more traditional windstorms from mid-October through November.

Each of these storms will bring a variety of risks; however, the early-season post-tropical threats are expected to bring heavy rainfall with the threat for widespread flooding and locally damaging winds.

"Any rainfall will be beneficial for crops following a largely dry summer across Portugal and Spain," Reppert said.

The threat will shift more to widespread damaging winds during the second half of the season with flooding becoming more localized.

Aside from the windstorm threat, slightly above-normal temperatures are expected in western France and the Iberian Peninsula.

No long-lasting heat waves are predicted early in the season, and overall rainfall will be near normal.

Warmth to persist as drought concerns build for eastern Europe

It will seem like a never-ending summer across parts of eastern Europe as prolonged warmth continues throughout the upcoming autumn.

Above-normal temperatures will prevail each month from September through November from the Baltic states into the eastern Balkans and Ukraine.

"While typically it turns noticeably cooler during October, it will feel like summer's grip doesn't want to relax this year," Reppert said.

Outdoor plans will benefit from the extended warmth and prolonged dry spells; however, agriculture will suffer further crop damage.

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A large part of the Elbe river bed is dried out during a long time of drought in front of the skyline with the Frauenkirche cathedral (Church of Our Lady) in Dresden, Germany, Monday, July 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

Along with the prolonged warmth, drought will become a more widespread concern during the upcoming months.

The greatest concern for drought will be across Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Belarus where warm, dry weather during summer will carry over into early autumn. Rainfall will remain scarce through November resulting in a poor harvest and poor soil moisture for future planting.

The warm and dry weather will last into November limiting the risk for any accumulating snowfall throughout the lower elevations of eastern Europe.

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