2020 has already broken several Dutch weather records

2020 has already broken several Dutch weather records

The Netherlands has experienced some exceptional weather recently, with temperatures across the country consistently soaring above 35 degrees. Therefore, it's not too surprising that this heatwave, and 2020 in general, are breaking a number of national records. 

Scorching heatwave breaks Dutch records

This heatwave is the fifth one to hit the Netherlands in just two short years. The last heatwave occurred in August 2019, but this year’s seems to be breaking several national records. 

Five consecutive days of 35+

For the first time since records began in 1901, (parts of) the Netherlands experienced temperatures above 35 degrees for five days in a row according to Weerplaza. The country has never experienced such hot weather for this long a period of time.

Meteorologists at Weeplaza said: “a series like the one during this heatwave was simply unthinkable in the last century.” In the 20th century, it was never 35 degrees or higher for more than two days in a row, and that only happened twice (once in 1976 and once in 1990). 

On Wednesday, it was also revealed that temperatures in De Bilt (a town near Utrecht) had reached 30 degrees seven days in a row for the first time ever. This breaks the 1941 and 1975 records of six consecutive days of tropical temperatures. 

Breaking national heat records

The temperatures reached in the Netherlands this week have repeatedly broken national heat records. The hottest August 11 ever measured was on Monday, when it reached 34,5 degrees in De Bilt, breaking the 2003 record of 31,5. Furthermore, on the night of 10-11 August, it reached 21,5 degrees, making it the hottest night too and breaking the previous record of 17,2 degrees.

August 8 and August 9 were also the hottest ever measured. On August 8, it reached 34,6 degrees, breaking the 1975 record of 32,9, and on August 9 it reached 32,6 degrees, breaking the 2004 record of 32,5 degrees. 

This week has also broken the record for the highest minimum temperature. Before now, the hottest week had a minimum temperature of 18 degrees - now it is 20 degrees. Geert Jan van Oldenborgh of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) said this marked a huge difference.

Weekend weather forecast

From Thursday, the KNMI has officially ended the code orange weather alert that has been in place for over a week in the South and South East of the Netherlands. This means the institute doesn't expect temperatures to rise above 35 degrees and that the country will begin to gradually cool down again. 

The warm weather will remain heading into the weekend, however, storms are on the way. The South of the Netherlands is likely to be hit first, with heavy winds, hail, and rain expected on Thursday evening. From Friday, temperatures are set to drop below 30, with thunderstorms and temperatures between 25 and 29 degrees expected across the country throughout the weekend. Meteorologists from Weerplaza say that, in spite of the cooling temperatures, it will still feel very hot in the sun. 

Temperatures in De Bilt are expected to reach above 30 degrees today, breaking the seven-day record to set a new one of eight consecutive days of tropical temperatures. However, it does seem that the worst of the heatwave is behind us, with experts expecting it to come to an official end on Monday, August 17.

The Netherlands hasn’t had as much rain

The Netherlands might be known for grey and wet weather. However, 2020 isn’t quite conforming to that stereotype.

This year is in the top 10 driest years ever recorded in the Netherlands. The precipitation deficit stood at 243 millimetres on Monday, August 10. The current heatwave has resulted in four to five millimetres of moisture evaporating on a daily basis. Even the rain and thunderstorms that are expected will have limited impact on the current drought, according to, as the water will immediately disappear into ditches or sewers. 

Precipitation deficit is the cumulative difference between daily potential evapotranspiration (PET) and daily precipitation. 

2020 is currently in ninth place. 2018, with a rain deficit of 319 millimetres, is in third place. The driest year ever was 1959, with a deficit of 381 millimetres. 

July 2020 one of the hottest on record

The three hottest Julys ever recorded have taken place in the last five years, with July 2020 marking the third hottest July worldwide. 2016 and 2019 experienced hotter Julys. 

Last month also saw the smallest amount of sea ice recorded in the Arctic since 1979. Experts say these global temperatures can be attributed partly to the wildfires in Siberia in June, which thawed permafrost and released a lot of carbon into the atmosphere.

According to the European Union’s climate change service Copernicus, temperatures across the world have been creeping up throughout all months of the year. Copernicus has temperature measurements dating back to the mid-nineteenth century.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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