2018 Europe spring forecast: Severe storms to eye eastern, central areas; Warmth to grace UK to France, Spain
By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
February 25, 2018, 9:17:49 AM EST
The warmth of spring will be welcomed by many; however, it will come with an increased risk for severe weather and flooding in some parts of Europe.
An active weather pattern will result in several rounds of severe weather from Germany into Belarus and Ukraine, while the frequent precipitation will produce a high risk for flooding in the Balkan Peninsula.
A less stormy pattern will take hold across western Europe, allowing unseasonable warmth to build from Spain into France throughout the spring.
Severe weather to take aim from Germany to Ukraine and the Baltic states
Windstorms will be infrequent during the spring months following several destructive winter storms across Germany and Poland; however, severe thunderstorms will be on the rise.
"Any early season windstorm that does impact Germany could lead to transportation delays, as many trees and limbs are in a weakened state following the stormy winter," AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys said.
As early season storminess becomes less frequent, warmth will slowly build across eastern and central Europe and set the stage for an increase in severe weather.
“The greatest threat for severe weather will be from late April into May,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert said.
Munich and Berlin in Germany to Kiev, Ukraine, and Minsk, Belarus, will all be at risk for multiple severe thunderstorms.
The greatest threat from these storms will be flash flooding and damaging winds, though the strongest storms may produce hail and even an isolated tornado.
Frequent rain, storms to heighten flooding risk across the Alps, Balkan Peninsula
While severe weather will threaten locations farther north, areas from the Alps into the Balkan Peninsula will be at risk for flooding.
"While much of the winter lacked significant rain and snow in the Balkans, a late-winter shift to stormier weather will continue into spring," Reppert said.
Bouts of rain and thunderstorms will lead to above-normal precipitation from Greece into Romania and Hungary.
Slow-moving storm systems will result in several consecutive days of rainfall in the same locations, heightening the risk for flooding.
Snowfall is likely across the mountains throughout March before milder air limits it to only the highest elevations in April.
The change to milder and rainy weather will combine with mountain snowfall to heighten the risk for flooding.
"Prolonged river flooding is possible due to the frequent rainfall and melting mountain snow, which could result in crop planting delays across the Balkans," Roys said.
Along with the threat for flooding, there will also be the concern for mudslides which can threaten areas in and near the higher terrain of the Dinaric Alps and Balkan Mountains.
The Alps will also be at risk for flooding due to an extensive snowpack from the winter that will melt quickly amid milder air and frequent precipitation.
This change to milder and wet weather will also heighten the risk for avalanches.
Building warmth to accompany drier weather from France to the Iberian Peninsula
Following one of the wettest winters on record in France, a drier-than-normal spring is predicted.
An area of high pressure will build west of the Iberian Peninsula and shield much of western Europe from frequent storm systems.
March is expected to be the wettest period of spring, particularly across Portugal and parts of Spain before a shift to very dry weather occurs from late March into May.
The threat for additional windstorms will be lower than normal from France into Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. However, a few disruptive and locally damaging wind events could affect the Netherlands into Denmark and northern Germany.
Infrequent storms will allow for unseasonable warmth to build from the Iberian Peninsula into France, western Germany and parts of Italy.
Locations from eastern Spain into southern France and western Italy will see the most prolonged and significant warmth of the season, making the vacation hot spot a go-to destination for anyone wanting a taste of summerlike warmth.
"The warm and dry weather will come at a cost as the threat for drought conditions will grow in eastern Spain and southern France," Reppert said.
"Prolonged dry spells during spring may cause problems for agriculture due to a lack of soil moisture in areas that typically see very infrequent rainfall during the summer," he said.
Spells of dry weather to increase from UK into Netherlands, Belgium and Scandinavia
The threat for windstorms will diminish this spring from the British Isles into the Netherlands, Belgium and Scandinavia as storms track farther north.
"An additional one or two named windstorms are forecast to occur in March and April," Roys said.
While windstorms will still be possible, the impacts are predicted to be less severe than the strongest storms of December and January.
Occasional bouts of rain will fall throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland.
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The most frequent and heaviest rainfall is expected across Northern Ireland and western Scotland where near to slightly above-normal rainfall is predicted throughout the season.
Longer stretches of dry weather are forecast from Ireland into Wales and England.
During these stretches of drier weather, temperatures will be able to build several degrees above normal.
The warmest days of May could allow temperatures to climb near 27 C (80 F) in southern England, Belgium and the Netherlands.
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