Germany's climate is moderate and has generally no longer periods of cold or hot weather. Northwestern and coastal Germany have a maritime influenced climate which is characterized by warm summers and mild cloudy winters. Most areas on the country's North Sea coast have midwinter temperatures about 1.5°C or even higher. Farther inland, the climate is continental, marked by greater seasonal variations in temperature, with warmer summers and colder winters. Temperature extremes between night and day and summer and winter are considerably less in the north than in the south. During January, the coldest month, the average temperature is about 1.5°C in the north and about -2°C in the south. In July, the warmest month, it is cooler in the north than in the south. The northern coastal region has July temperatures averaging between 16°C and 18°C; at some locations in the south, the average is almost 20°C or even slightly higher.
In addition to the maritime and continental climates that predominate over most of the country, the Alpine regions in the extreme south and, to a lesser degree, some areas of the Central German Uplands have a so-called mountain climate. This climate is characterized by lower temperatures because of higher altitudes and greater precipitation caused by air becoming moisture-laden as it lifts over higher terrain. An occasional condition in the Alps is called "föhn", or warm wind. In this atmospheric condition, warm tropical air is drawn across the Alps and loses moisture on the southern slopes of the mountains. Sometimes this winds can be as strong as gales, and can cause damage, especially in late autumn and winter.
Especially in fall and winter strong atlantic low-pressure systems can bring gales and uncomfortable weather with showers, thunderstorms and heavy rain, especially in the western coastal parts and the mountainous regions of Germany; in summer times weaker low pressure systems can cause showery weather, and sometimes even (severe) thunderstorms. winters in Germany are generally mild, but can sometimes be harsh with heavy snowfall and temperatures far below zero, especially in the eastern, southern and mountainous regions.