Drought in Germany continues in autumn, forces chemical plant shutdown
The exceptionally dry weather that has gripped Germany over the entire summer is set to continue for some time to come, Tim Kröplin and Alina Schadwinkel write on Zeit Online. Even though temperatures have dropped to normal levels and the first snow has fallen in parts of the country, about 70 percent of Germany is still much too dry even by November standards, causing higher prices for many agricultural products and putting a strain on forest health, the article says. Even though it remains difficult to forecast the weather, Germany’s national meteorological service DWD predicts that in the months ahead there will still not be enough rain to offset the summer’s drought.
The low water level in Germany’s most important river, the Rhine, forced chemical industry heavyweight BASF to halt the production of plastics at one of its plants in Ludwigshafen, the public broadcaster SWR reports in a separate article. The plant, worth one billion euros, had only opened in July 2018 and relies on the river for shipping supplies, but currently ships cannot navigate on the Rhine. BASF head Martin Brudermüller said water locks and barrages would be “necessary” to ensure that “there’s not more water flowing out of the Rhine than into it.”