2018 Europe summer forecast: Intense heat to seize France to Germany; Fierce storms to hit Poland to Italy, Romania

By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
May 21, 2018, 6:21:23 AM EDT

As summer heat builds, there will be an increased risk for drought in parts of eastern Europe.

The heat will also help fuel a high risk for wildfires from France into Germany and the Alps as the summer progresses.

Frequent occurrences of thunderstorms will dampen outdoor plans and elevate the threat for flooding from southern Italy into the southern Balkan Peninsula throughout the summer.

Europe Summer Forecast 5/13

High fire risk as heat waves bake France to Germany and northern Italy

Sweltering heat will build across parts of western and central Europe throughout the summer months.

High temperatures are expected to soar to or past 32 C (90 F) on numerous occasions from June through August in Toulouse and Lyon, France, Milan and Florence, Italy, and Frankfurt and Berlin, Germany.

The most intense heat will lead to temperatures approaching 38 C (100 F) in southern France and northern Italy.

"There is concern for a long-duration heat wave late in the summer which could produce dangerous conditions for the young and elderly," Accuweather Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert said.

"Another concern will be for poor air quality which will greatly affect the elderly and anyone with prior health issues," AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys added.

AP Heat 5/13

A child cools off on a fountain in downtown Milan, Italy, Thursday, August 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

As the rounds of heat continue, dry conditions will become widespread with localized drought conditions developing.

The combination of heat with dry soil and vegetation will lead to a higher-than-normal risk for wildfires.

Locations across southern France, northern Italy and into southern Germany will be at highest risk for wildfires.

Roys said, "Any wildfires will worsen existing air quality problems across the region."

While below-normal rainfall is predicted from June through August, any thunderstorms that do occur will have the potential to be strong or severe due to the unseasonable heat in place across the region.

Flash flooding and damaging winds will be the most likely threats with these thunderstorms.

Violent thunderstorms to lash Poland, Czech Republic and Belarus

While parts of western and central Europe will be at risk for isolated severe weather events this summer, eastern Europe will get the most widespread severe thunderstorms.

The combination of unseasonable warmth along with occasional surges of moist air from the Mediterranean will set the stage for rounds of severe thunderstorms from eastern Poland and Czech Republic into Belarus and southern Lithuania.

"Most severe thunderstorms will occur from the mid-afternoon into the early evening," Roys said.

Locations facing the greatest risk include Prague, Czech Republic, Wroclaw and Warsaw, Poland, and Minsk, Belarus.

These thunderstorms will be capable of producing damaging winds, hail and flash flooding as well as causing travel disruption.

The strongest storms may produce powerful tornadoes and large, destructive hail.

Other locations that could have severe thunderstorms include Munich and Dresden, Germany, Vienna, Austria, and Vilnius, Lithuania.

"Brief bouts of cooler air are expected following each wave of violent storms; however, no lasting cool spells are forecast this summer," Reppert said.

Aside from the threat for severe thunderstorms, the summer will yield periods of dry weather with temperatures generally near or above normal throughout the season.

Frequent thunderstorms to elevate flood threat across southern Balkan Peninsula, southern Italy

Most of Europe can expect a drier-than-normal summer; however, recurrent thunderstorms will yield above-normal rainfall across parts of southern Italy and the Balkan Peninsula.

While isolated severe thunderstorms are possible in these areas, the biggest concern will be flash flooding.

Locations such as Rome and Naples Italy; Tirana, Albania; Sofia, Bulgaria; and Bucharest, Romania; will be at risk for slow-moving thunderstorms capable of producing life-threatening flash flooding.

AP Balkan Flooding 5/13

Residents walk past piled up cars hit by severe flooding in the town of Varna, Bulgaria, Friday, June 20, 2014. (AP Photo/ImpactPressGroup)

These areas will also be at risk for prolonged periods of unsettled weather which could yield heavy rainfall in the same locations for three to five consecutive days.

This will cause an elevated risk for river flooding along with the threat for mudslides.

"The biggest threat though for flooding and mudslides will be near the slopes of the Apennines and the Dinaric Alps," Roys said.

These periods of unsettled weather will also prevent long-duration heat waves from occurring this summer. This will bear a stark contrast to the extreme heat across the Balkan Peninsula last summer.

Warm, dry summer expected from United Kingdom to Belgium, Netherlands

Prolonged periods of warm and dry weather will be the theme of the summer across the British Isles, northwestern France, Belgium and Netherlands.

While warmer-than-normal conditions are forecast for the season, the most intense heat waves will be centered from southern France and northern Italy into Germany.

This will result in long stretches of above-normal warmth but will bring less of a threat for record-challenging heat.

The overall warm pattern will likely result in one of the warmest summers of the past decade.

“Going back to 2010, this summer will rank as one of the top three warmest across United Kingdom as a whole," Roys said.

The prolonged warm and dry weather will increase the risk for drought conditions which could impact agriculture.

“Any summer drought, on top of the bitter cold in late winter and early spring, could have major implications on produce grown across the British Isles,” Roys said.

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Rainfall as a whole will be well below normal from England into Belgium and Netherlands.

The most frequent rainfall will be from Ireland into western Scotland where occasional showers and thunderstorms are expected.

However, the wettest locations within this region can still expect to receive only near-normal rainfall for the season.

Drought to build across Ukraine

Drought will become a major concern across Ukraine and parts of the northern Balkan Peninsula this summer.

Following a wet March, dry weather developed across all of Ukraine during the month of April.

This pattern is expected to continue through August leading to drought conditions.

"Most locations across Ukraine will get less than 50 percent of their normal summer rainfall this year," Roys said.

A severe drought following the bitterly cold air from late February into March could result in a poor agricultural yield this year.

The drought could force water restrictions in some areas which may be compounded by bouts of intense heat throughout the summer.

AP Wildfire 5/13

In this Tuesday Aug. 15, 2017 file photo a fire fighting helicopter flies amid smoke as the sun sets during a forest fire near Kapandriti north of Athens. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Meanwhile, the Iberian Peninsula will have some reprieve from recent summer heat and wildfires.

While there will still be plenty of hot days across Portugal and Spain, it will be a more typical summer in terms of the intensity and duration of heat waves.

Well above-normal rainfall during the spring will help lower the wildfire threat compared to previous years which resulted in numerous deadly blazes.

Isolated thunderstorms will still bring the threat for lightning; however, it will also bring relief from any summer heat.

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