Germany Reaches Record High Heat

July is the hottest and sunniest month ever recorded in Germany, the country's weather service said Friday, confirming the suspicions of delighted sun-worshippers.

The average temperature was 22.1 C (71.8 F), according to provisional figures from the German Weather Service. The previous record was 21.3 C (70.3 F), recorded in July 1994.

The weather service, which has nationwide records dating from 1901, said this month's average includes forecast temperatures for the remaining days.

Uwe Kirsche, a spokesman for the weather service, said forecasting techniques were so accurate that the final temperature figure could vary by no more than 0.1 of a degree.

Southwestern winegrowers are expecting a high-quality harvest and Germany's famous breweries are beer gardens are doing a roaring trade.

But others have suffered.

Some wheat farmers say their crops were ruined by water shortages, and nuclear power stations can't run properly because the river water they use for cooling is already warm.

The weather service said July temperatures were more than 5 C above average. Some of its 2,600 weather stations saw temperatures rise above 25 C (77 F) every day. The hottest place of all was the eastern city of Bernburg, which recorded 38.9 C (102 F) on July 20.

The average number of hours of sunshine for July was about 336 hours. The previous record, also from July 1994, was 289 hours.

The sunniest region was Baltic coast, dotted with beaches and islands, which had nearly 400 hours of sunshine.

Rainfall was only 60 percent of the amount recorded in a typical July, but much of it fell during sometimes violent thunderstorms.

On Thursday evening, more than 850 firefighters rushed to the aid of residents near the western town of Detmold after rain flooded cellars and thunderbolt set fire to buildings and bales of straw in newly harvested field. No one was hurt.