Spring? Swiss weather remains in winter mode

Spring? Swiss weather remains in winter mode
Forecasters say warmer weather is on the way, though sun worshippers may have to wait a few weeks. Photo: Sebastian Bozon/AFP
Spring officially starts on Wednesday but residents of Switzerland will have to wait awhile for spring-like weather, according to forecasters.

A bout of colder than usual weather hit much of the country over the past few days with heavy snow falling on Ticino, normally the region with the mildest conditions.

Ten centimetres of the white stuff covered low-lying areas of the southern Italian-speaking canton on Monday morning, while as much as 35 centimetres accumulated at higher elevations in the mountains.

Ticino police reported no major accidents but parts of the A-2 and A-13 highways were temporarily closed to trucks.

Several flights were cancelled at Lugano’s airport.

MeteoSwiss, the national weather offiice, said the heavy snow was due to moist air from the Mediterranean arriving in southern Switzerland and colliding with cold air.

The snow is not expected to last long in the Ticino valleys, with rain already washing much of it away by Monday afternoon.

More snow was expected in the canton on Monday night but at levels above 800 metres.

A mixture of cool air and precipitation also brought light snow to the Jura Mountains and the Lake Geneva region early on Monday.

Temperatures struggled to get above a maximum of three to five degrees in much of Switzerland over the weekend as a cold front passed from west to east, MeteoSwiss, the national weather office said.

Changeable weather, including occasional thunderstorms, is predicted to follow on Tuesday when temperatures will gradually start rising.

By Thursday, the mercury is predicted to hit 14 degrees in Lugano, the biggest city in Ticino.

But sun worshippers may have to wait until after Easter before warmer weather kicks in for good.

One meteorologist, Dominik Jung, of wetter.net, predicted warmer than usual weather for late April and early May.

Jung told 20Minuten, the online news site, that he expects numerous summery days with daily high temperatures of 25 degrees, especially in northern Switzerland.

He added that this prediction had a 65 to 70 percent probability.

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