KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — It might be time to rethink that famous quote — often wrongly attributed to Mark Twain — about the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.
It might be better to insert Germany in place of San Francisco.
So far, the summer in Germany has been anything but summerlike. Cool temperatures, high winds and buckets of rain have dominated the weather in recent weeks. Instead of tank tops and sandals, people are wearing jackets and rain boots.
So what gives?
The cooler and rainier than normal weather is due to a westerly flow pattern that brings low-pressure systems with frontal systems to the European continent, said Thomas Bundenthal, a meteorologist with the 21st Operational Weather Squadron in Sembach, Germany.
For the first 10 days of July, the Kaiserslautern area had an average temperature of 60 degrees. Normally for that time frame, the temperature in the area averages 63 degrees, Bundenthal said. For June, Kaiserslautern saw 2.8 inches of rain, he said. The normal June average precipitation in Kaiserslautern is 2.5 inches, he said.
The good news is that the forecast this weekend for the Kaiserslautern area is partly cloudy to sunny with high temperatures in the mid- to upper-80s, according to the 21st OWS five-day outlook.
The not-so-good news is that it may be the only glimpse of summer for a few weeks.
“It looks to be only a temporary summer break out, and this moist pattern will return,” Bundenthal said.
It’s possible but not certain that the weather will improve around late July/early August, Bundenthal said. The warm summers in Germany since 2000 have been caused by the Azores high — a semi-permanent high-pressure area — moving over Europe, but this year it is staying over the mid-Atlantic, Bundenthal said.
The cool, damp weather has affected participation in outdoor trips organized by U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern Outdoor Recreation. “Who wants to go camping in the rain?” said Chris Harper Mann, recreation specialist at Kaiserslautern Outdoor Recreation. “We’re at about 40 to 50 percent less than what we did last year.”