Dry autumn in Germany forces Rhine shippers to cut loads

BERLIN (AP) — Months of low rainfall have left Rhine short of water, forcing inland shippers on Germany’s longest river to reduce their loads by half to avoid running aground.

German news agency dpa on Monday quoted the national shippers association as saying that the restrictions are adding additional costs to the already squeezed river transportation business.

On Friday, the gauge in Emmerich on the border with the Netherlands measured 76 centimeters (30 inches). The median low-water mark there is 94 centimeters (37 inches).

Germany has experienced an unusually dry and warm November.

The European Commission said Monday said that average autumn temperatures on the continent this year were the highest since records began.

Data released by the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service found that the period from September to November was 1.9 degrees Celsius (2.9 Fahrenheit) hotter than the standard 30-year reference period from 1981 to 2010, and 0.4 C higher than the previous warmest autumn in 2006.

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