Europe’s historic temperature shift, from summer to winter in just one day

fighting frost france april 2023

Europe has experienced one of the most rapid temperature flips on record in April 2024 — moving from numerous record-breaking summer-like temperatures at the beginning of the month to record-breaking late April records and frost. Climatologist Maximiliano Herrera said Europe has never seen a month like that extreme.

Temperatures across Europe during the first two weeks of April were marked by numerous record-high temperatures, with summer-like temperatures bringing the feeling of upcoming summer and promoting early blooming in many plants. However, this was followed by an abrupt weather reversal in mid-April, bringing unusually cold temperatures, freezing rain, and snow.

“Europe, the crib of meteorology, is experiencing its most extreme month ever seen,” said weather historian and climatologist Maximiliano Herrera.

Slovenia has become a notable example of this sharp climatic shift. On April 16, following more than ten days of summer-like weather with highs exceeding 30 °C (86 °F), the country reported a drastic change. Temperatures fell to icy levels accompanied by wind, rain, and snow, causing not only agricultural concerns but also traffic disruptions and minor damage from weather conditions.

As we reported on April 21, the most significant temperature drop was recorded in Podčetrtek, a town in eastern Slovenia, where temperatures fell from 27.2°C (81.0 °F) on the afternoon of April 15 to just 1 °C (33.8 °F) by 15:00 LT the following day, marking a record decline of 26.2 °C (47.2 °F).

A similar rapid temperature shift was recorded across central Europe, severely affecting the region’s agriculture, particularly fruit trees and vineyards now vulnerable after early blooming.

Winemakers in France and other affected regions fought frost with anti-frost candles, evoking a familiar scene that we’ve seen repeating over the past several years. This sequence marks yet another year where early-season warmth promoted plant blooming, only to be followed by a destructive frost.

A poignant example occurred in 2017, when vineyards in Champagne, Bordeaux, and Burgundy were severely impacted by temperatures plunging to below -7 °C (19 °F). This abrupt cold snap destroyed the tender shoots that had already begun to develop. Julien Hubail, an expert at the Bugey Wine Union, recounted to The Guardian that the frost was the most devastating event that local winemakers could recall.

Today, April 23, many areas across Europe, from Finland to Germany and Croatia, woke up to snow.

In Helsinki, Finland, tram network has been shut down completely after freezing rain and snowfall iced up overhead power lines. Parts of southern Finland recorded more than 20 cm (7.8 inches) of new snow, with 28 cm (11 inches) in Espoo. The event has been described as unusual.

Antti Vigelius, head of Metropolitan Area Transport Ltd’s maintenance unit, said in a press statement that the severity of the weather surprised them, adding that problems with tram services could continue for as long as the freezing rain continues.

Germany’s tallest mountain, the Zugspitze, standing at 2 962 meters (9 718 feet), has accumulated 40 cm (16 inches) of snow over the past 24 hours and approximately 1 meter (3.3 feet) in the last five days. Despite the resort’s preparations for the summer season, snow conditions at the Zugspitze Ski Area are currently ideal. These conditions are more typical of winter months, not what would be expected at the end of April.

Late April snow was also reported as far south as Croatia and east through Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania on April 23. Unusually cold weather has also crossed the Mediterranean and entered northern Africa where they are expected to remain and spread at least over the next 3 days.

A noticeable return to warmer temperatures across much of Europe is expected on April 28 and 29.



1 Severe cold snap hits Europe after unseasonable warmth, high-risk for catastrophic morning frost – The Watchers – April 21, 2023

2 Winemakers use flames to fight frost during temperature drop – AccuWeather – April 22, 2024

3 Helsinki tram service resumes after late April snowstorm – YLE – April 23, 2024

4 Germany’s Zugspitze Sees 3 Feet of Spring Snow in 5 Days – Snow Brains – April 22, 2024


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One Comment

  1. Now, how can the pseudoscience theory of global warming explain this huge fluctuation of temperature? But, of course, this pseudoscience theory has more fantasies and miracles than the ancient religions. Thus, surely, the myth-makers can come-up with a new fantasy to suit their theory which is far worse than all of the fairy-tales of ancient religions.

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