Wintry weekend warning for Swiss Alps

Wintry weekend warning for Swiss Alps
After a warmer than usual August and a heatwave that ended last week, Switzerland is suddenly bracing for a hint of winter.

MeteoSwiss, the national weather office, is warning of snow at higher elevations this weekend as a wave of cool, damp air from the north drops temperatures and dumps precipitation across the country.

That precipitation is expected to fall as snow in areas with elevations above 1,000 metres, the weather office says.

Between 60 centimetres and a metre of the white stuff is predicted in areas north of the Alps on Saturday, according to a bulletin from the Swiss institute for snow and avalanche studies.

The institute expects around 30 centimetres of snow in parts of Valais, Ticino and Graubünden.

It issued a warning advising people not to go hiking in the Swiss Alps this weekend because of the changing weather conditions.

The danger of avalanches is extreme at levels above 2,500 metres.

In the valleys, temperatures are expected to fall to as low as two degrees in Eastern Switzerland with highs of seven degrees.

MeteoSwiss predicts slightly warmer weather on Sunday.

The chilly change comes after Switzerland experienced an August that was considerably warmer than the average established between 1961 and 1990.

Temperatures were between 2.5 and three degrees higher than average on the plain north of the Alps and in Alpine valleys, the weather office said.

Readings were 3.5 degrees higher than usual on mountain summits and in the cantons of Ticino and Valais.

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