Ticino lakes threaten to burst banks after rain

After almost a week of heavy rain, lakes in Ticino, the Italian-speaking canton in the south of Switzerland, are threatening to burst their banks, the federal office of the environment warns.

Ticino lakes threaten to burst banks after rain
Aerial view of Lake Maggiore. Photo: Alessandro Vecchi

The department this week issued a level-three warning for flooding for lakes, which threatened to become critical as of Thursday.

Although for the moment only a few footpaths were under water as of Wednesday, further rain overnight was expected to heighten the danger.
The water level of Lake Maggiore. the largest lake in the canton, straddling the Italian border, was within 0.4 metres of triggering flooding, the ATS news service reported.

The Corriere del Ticino newspaper reported on its website that parts of the waterfront in Locarno were under water.

Water rose above containment barriers and submerged the Peace park, while areas of the waterfront normally accessible to the public were closed as a precaution, the newspaper said.

The danger level has passed, however, at Lake Lugano where water levels have already begun to drop.

Ticino has experienced heavy rainfall since last Friday.

The precipitation has amounted to more than 330 litres per square metre in some regions of the canton, ATS reported.

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9,000 lightning bolts: Heavy storms sweep across Switzerland

Hurricane-like gusts have swept across much of Switzerland on Sunday and Monday. Weather experts have counted at least 9,000 lightning bolts striking since Sunday.

9,000 lightning bolts: Heavy storms sweep across Switzerland

As of Monday morning however, the storms have largely receded in most of the country. 

Swiss weather service Meteonews said the canton of Bern was the heaviest hit, with 2,500 lightning strikes. 

Around 850 were recorded in Uri, followed by Fribourg, Vaud and St Gallen. 

Winds of 111km/h were recorded on the Weissfluhjoch summit, while wind speeds of 85km/h were recorded in Meiringen and Sitten. 

Monday will experience some winds, but will largely be sunny. 

Temperatures of 24C degrees are predicted in the north of the country, while heights of 30C are predicted for the centre and south.