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Munich Travel Guide

Weather in Munich

Munich lies on the elevated plains of upper Bavaria, some 50 km north of the northern edge of the Alps, at an altitude of about 520m. It has a modified continental type of climate, with a pronounced summer rainfall maximum. Winters are rather cold (January mean: 0.5 C), but heavy snowfall is rare, especially in recent years. Summers are fairly warm (July mean: 19.2 C) with frequent thunder, and temperatures throughout the year are somewhat reduced relative to lower-lying parts of Germany due to the altitude.

The climate is strongly influenced by the proximity of the Alps. Winds from the SW to SE lose their moisture on crossing the Alps, resulting in F�hn conditions in Munich. The F�hn invariably brings warm, dry weather at all seasons, and a strong F�hn can bring exceptionally clear viewing conditions. Temperatures as high as almost 20 C in winter, or 35 C in summer can occur with the aid of F�hn support. However, strong F�hn conditions only affect Munich on a few days per year and is, hence, a less significant factor in the local climate than is popularly believed. F�hn is most common in autumn and winter, while being very rare in mid-summer.

On the other hand, winds blowing from between NW and NE lead to a damming-up of the airflow against the northern Alps. This can lead to prolonged precipitation, sometimes lasting a couple of days, accompanied by low temperatures. In winter and early spring, heavy snowfall can result and, even in summer, daytime temperatures under these conditions may barely exceed 10 C. This unpleasant condition, known as Alpenstau, occurs with roughly the same frequency as strong F�hns, but is most common in spring and summer.

The mean rainfall distribution is also strongly influenced by nearby mountain ranges. In winter, Munich is often in the rain-shadow of the Alps and/or the hill ranges of SW Germany (Schw�bische Alb, Schwarzwald (Black Forest)) and hence has a rather dry winter climate. In summer, much rainfall comes from either thunderstorms or from spells of Alpenstau - in both cases the rainfall amounts increase sharply towards the south in the direction of the Alps. Thunder is more frequent there and Stau effects are stronger. Mean rainfall amounts are measureably higher in the south of the city than in the north!

Munich has genrally a healthy climate with few serious weather hazards. Winds are mostly light and gales are rare. Fog may occur in Autumn and Winter, but is less frequent in the city itself. The rather flat landscape leads to a somewhat compressed diurnal temperature range during the summer half-year (compared to a valley site for example) and the city heat-island effect leads to elevated night minima. The latter is especially noticeable when comparisons are made with observations made at Munich-Airport, situated on the Erdinger Moos in rural surroundings, 20km NE of the city.

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