Austria braces for heat, thunderstorms and traffic jams over long weekend

With the public holiday coming up on Monday, people in Austria can look forward to sunny and hot weather, but they also need to prepare for thunderstorms and traffic jams.

Austria braces for heat, thunderstorms and traffic jams over long weekend
Hungarian police officers check cars at the Nickelsdorf-Hegyeshalom border crossing on the Austrian-Hungarian border on March 18, 2020. (Photo by ALEX HALADA / AFP)

The long weekend in Austria will be hot and sunny, but thunderstorms are forecast, according to the country’s meteorological agency ZAMG.

Monday, June 6th, is a holiday across the entire country. As a result, shops and supermarkets will be closed (so buy your groceries in advance, especially given stores are closed as usual on Sunday), and people in Austria are taking the opportunity to enjoy June weather and travel.

READ ALSO: Discover Austria: Five beautiful hikes and destinations south of Vienna

According to ZAMG, Saturday morning will be sunny across the entire country, with temperatures rising above 31C. However, the afternoon will bring thunderstorms and rain to most of Austria, especially in the mountainous regions.

The same can be expected for Sunday – with sunny and hot mornings and extreme thunderstorms in the afternoon for most of the country. Daily maximums can read 30C.

READ ALSO: How to explore the Austrian mountains in the summer like a local

On Whit Monday or Pentecost Monday, from Salzburg eastwards, people can expect rain throughout the day. However, temperatures are still high, coming to about 22 to 28 degrees, depending on the region.

Traffic expected for the long weekend

Austria’s Automobile, Motorcycle, and Touring Club (ÖAMTC) expects traffic jams to affect the outskirts of all major cities, especially Salzburg, as people arrive from other parts of Austria, Bavaria, and Baden-Württemberg, in Germany, for holidays.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about driving on the autobahn in Austria

The group warns that traffic will be heavy from Bavaria in the direction of Austria on Friday evening and Saturday until early afternoon.

Leaving Vienna during those times can also prove challenging given heavy traffic is expected in the capital and its surrounding areas. The return on Monday evening is also a time for traffic jams, so be prepared.

READ ALSO: What is Austria’s ‘traffic calendar’ and how can it help me save time?

At the end of May, Austria’s latest long weekend had drivers waiting for up to two hours along the country’s main routes. Border crossings were particularly affected, with control checks making processes slower.

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What are the chances of a white Christmas in Austria this year?

Yes, it's a bit early for Christmas weather forecasts, but it hasn't stopped meteorologists making predictions. Here's what they have to say about the possibility of snow in Austria this Christmas.

What are the chances of a white Christmas in Austria this year?

In less than a month it will be Christmas Eve and the suspense is rising on whether there will be a white Christmas, especially at low altitudes, broadcaster ORF said.

The weather models do not yet reach that far, but ORF Vorarlberg meteorologist Thomas Rinderer has looked at the statistics in a bid to predict the snowfall this year.

FOR MEMBERS: Everything that changes in Austria in December 2022

On average, there is a white Christmas in Bregenz every three to six years. The last time was in 2011, so statistically speaking, a white Christmas in the Rhine Valley would be more than overdue.

However, the first long-term forecasts see a relatively mild winter overall, so it’s unlikely that an extremely cold winter is imminent. This follows the warmest October in Austria since records began although, according to ORF meteorologists, “surprises are still possible”.

READ ALSO: Austrian Christmas traditions: The festive dates you need to know

This is because even in a mild winter there can still be a lot of snow. 

The Copernicus climate change service of the EU is predicting winter will be dry from France to Germany, but the Mediterranean area will be humid. This can lead to precipitation moving up from Italy into Austria where it’s likely to become snow.

Last year, some parts of Austria (especially in the west) enjoyed a white Christmas after a cold December and plenty of snowfall. This year, many regions in the Alps are already coated in snow although temperatures are set to rise next week.

We’ll keep you updated on the forecasts in the coming weeks.