Flooding follows hail in storm-struck regions

Heavy rain hit the canton of Fribourg, causing flooding in numerous communities on Monday afternoon, a day after hailstorms struck several regions of Switzerland.

Flooding follows hail in storm-struck regions
Photo: Bdahl/Wikimedia Commons

Fribourg cantonal police said emergency crews responded to 27 emergency calls, primarily for flooded basements in the Sarine area.

The communities of Treyvaux, Ependes, Le Mouret, Marly, Givisiez and Chiètres were among those impacted, police said.

Nine fire brigades helped deal with the high water.

Local fire fighters cleared a landslide that covered the Route du Condoz in Villars-sur-Glâne, cantonal police said.

As a precaution due to unstable rock in the area, police closed the road to traffic overnight with a diversion put into place.

No injuries were initially reported.

The rain followed storms on Sunday that swept across a region extending from Vaud to Lake Constance.

Hailstones pummeled the vineyards of Morges and Lavaux in the canton of Vaud, insurer Schweizer Hagel (Suisse Grêle) said.

The insurer said hail also fell on the cantons of Fribourg, Bern, Basel-City, Basel-Country and Aargau.

The company said it received claims from 700 market gardeners, fruit growers, wine growers and horticulturists who suffered damage estimated at up to three million francs.

The cantons of Jura, Neuchâtel and Ticino were among those also reporting heavy rain, the ATS news service reported.

Meanwhile, winds close to 100 kilometres an hour were clocked in Schaffhausen and 90 km/h in Basel.

MeteoSwiss is forecasting a drop in temperatures in most parts of Switzerland on Tuesday with rain across the country and thunderstorms in the southeast.

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Climate crisis: Swiss lakes at lowest-ever August levels

Some of Switzerland's best-known lakes are at their lowest level ever for August after a dry year so far in 2022, the environment ministry said on Wednesday.

Climate crisis: Swiss lakes at lowest-ever August levels

Some of Switzerland’s best-known lakes are at their lowest level ever for August after a dry year so far in 2022, the environment ministry said on Wednesday.

At the same time, discharge levels on the Rhine, one of Europe’s major rivers which starts in the Swiss Alps, have never been so low in August since records began.

“There is a low water situation in Switzerland, especially on the central plateau and in the southern part of Ticino,” the country’s southernmost canton, said Michele Oberhansli, from the Federal Office for the Environment’s hydrology division.

READ ALSO: Water flown in by helicopter: How Switzerland has been hit by drought

“The reason for the existing situation is a precipitation deficit in the whole year of 2022, which affects the whole of Switzerland, as well as many other European countries,” she told AFP.

Soil moisture is down across the country and drought is affecting forests and agriculture, she said.

Lakes Constance, Lucerne, Lugano and Walen “are currently recording water levels that have never been so low in an August month since measurements began”, said Oberhansli.

Meanwhile Lakes Zug and Maggiore “continue to show values well below average”.

The shores of Lake Maggiore mark the lowest point in Switzerland, normally at 193 metres above sea level.

READ ALSO: MAP: The Swiss regions in danger of wildfires and the measures in place to avoid them

Except the lakes in the Jura region in the northwest and Lake Thun, the levels of all the other larger Swiss lakes are also below the long-term average.

Rivers down, glaciers melting

Meanwhile many Swiss rivers are recording readings that only occur once every two to 20 years.

“Discharge values on the Reuss and Rhine have never been so low since measurements began in August,” said Oberhansli.

The hydrologist said rain over the coming days should “slightly alleviate” the low water and drought levels, but would “not yet be sufficient to ease the overall situation”.

Following a dry winter, the summer heatwaves hitting Europe have been catastrophic for Switzerland’s Alpine glaciers, which have been melting at an accelerated rate.

READ ALSO: IN PICTURES: Runners take on Swiss glacier race despite melt

A layer of ice — 15 metres thick in 2012 — has covered the Tsanfleuron Pass between two glaciers since at least the Roman era.

But most of it has gone and the ice on the pass will have melted away completely by the end of September, a ski resort said last week.