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Austria expecting sunny weather this weekend after ‘coldest April since 1997’

After an unusually cold spring, warm sunshine is finally heading for Austria this Mother's Day weekend.

People enjoy sunny weather in Vienna's Stadtpark. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
People enjoy sunny weather in Vienna's Stadtpark, Austria. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Bright sunshine and summer temperatures are predicted for most of the country all weekend, with lovely weather forecast for Mother’s Day on Sunday. 

It’s a significant turn after what was the coldest April in more than two decades. 

The weather will be best in the west of Austria, though on Saturday morning it will be slightly frosty in some Alpine valleys. By Saturday afternoon, temperatures should be over 20 degrees in western Austria and up to 22 degrees in Vorarlberg and Tyrol up to 22 degrees. 

At heights above 2000m it will still be around minus 5 to minus 2 degrees in the morning, in the afternoon around zero degrees on the Schneeberg and 6 degrees in the Ötztal Alps.

On Sunday it will be much warmer. Temperatures will reach 19 degrees in the Bernsteiner and East Styrian areas and go up to 24 degrees around Vienna. 

In Vorarlberg and western Austria it could even get as warm as 28 or 29 degrees, with bright sunshine. However, it will feel cooler in Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland, due to brisk winds. 

Frosty nights have worried farmers, especially those tending to orchards such as these apricot trees in the Wachau Valley. (Photo by ALEX HALADA / AFP)

Coldest April since 1997

Spring has been unusually cold this year.

Broadcaster ORF reports it was the coldest April since 1997.

New records have even been set, with minus seven degrees celsius was measured at Graz Airport on April 8th and temperatures of minus 11.8 degrees Celsius recorded at Bad Mitterndorf the next day.

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LOWER AUSTRIA

Smoking cigarettes in Austrian forests could cost you €7,270

In Lower Austria, smoking in or near forests is now forbidden as a way to avoid fires in the dryer than usual woods.

Smoking cigarettes in Austrian forests could cost you €7,270

A new ordinance published in 14 districts, with more to come, in Lower Austria has set a €7,270 fine for people caught smoking in or near forests in the region. 

The districts have a dangerous combination: drought weather and dry woods, with several forest fires occurring in recent days, Lower Austria’s Stephan Pernkopf (ÖVP) said in a press release.

READ MORE: ‘Waldeinsamkeit’ in Austria: Five peaceful forest walks near Vienna

“Forest fires are a danger to humans and animals. In addition, the flames cause enormous economic damage and endanger the diverse functions that the forest provides for our society. The recent forest fires could be quickly brought under control thanks to the dedicated commitment of our fire brigades. Still, due to the current situation, we must be cautious and protect our forest,” Pernkopf stated.

The ordinances issued prohibit smoking and igniting fires in or near the forest. A violation of the rules will result in administrative penalties of up to €7,270 or four-week imprisonment, even if it has not (yet) caused a fire. 

The rules are currently in place for Amstetten, Baden, Gänserndorf, Hollabrunn, Horn, Korneuburg, Melk, Mistelbach, Mödling, Neunkirchen, St. Pölten, Tulln, Waidhofen an der Thaya and Wr. Neustadt. Similar ordinances are being prepared in Gmünd, Krems, and Zwettl.

READ MORE: IN PICTURES: Sahara dust covers Austria in sepia

Forest fires

The country has been particularly hit by forest fires as dry weather continues.  

In a typical March, Austria receives around 150 to 200 litres of rain per square metre, according to a report in the Kronen Zeitung. But this year, the rainfall doesn’t even come close to the seasonal average.

As a result, the dry forest floor had already been burning in Ausserfern in the district of Reutte in Tyrol near the border with Bavaria. 

Forest fires have also been reported in Carinthia, where water from firefighting efforts froze overnight, leading to an ice desert in Burgstallberg in the Spittal/Drau District.

Additionally, the water level at Lake Neusiedl in Burgenland was also below the typical seasonal levels, and groundwater levels in Carinthia, southern Styria and southern Burgenland were low for the time of year.

However, according to ZAMG, low rainfall in March and April has been typical in Austria since the 2000s.

Useful vocabulary

Wald – forest

Strafe – fine

Waldbrandverordnung – forest fire ordinance

Trockenheit – dryness

Rauchen – smoking

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