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December enters record books as warmest ever

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December enters record books as warmest ever
Tourists ski on a thin layer of snow towards the resort of Leysin on December 28th. Photo: AFP
09:04 CET+01:00
Switzerland has had its warmest December since records began in 1868, according to meteorologists, with snow in short supply over Christmas.

With just a few days of the month left and no weather change in sight it is clear that a new record has been set, Daniel Murer of MeteoSwiss told the sda news agency.

In Disentis and Chur in the eastern canton of Graubünden and in La Chaux-de-Fonds in the canton of Neuchâtel temperatures on Boxing Day topped 11 degrees – warmer than ever before, MeteoSwiss reported.

Over Christmas, ski resorts had to rely on artificial snow or lay on alternative offers for disappointed skiers.

In Crans Montana in the southwestern canton of Valais six holes on the Ballesteros golf course were reopened on December 25th to compensate for closed ski runs, according to a report on Swiss public television SRF's  “Tagesschau” programme.

Not everyone seemed to mind the lack of snow. “Golfing in the winter is unique. It's great,” said one visitor.

On Monday morning just 32 of 140 kilometres of piste were open in the resort at 1,800 metres, with 26 of those covered by artificial snow.

Mountain railways are also suffering from the lack of snow. In the canton of Graubünden around a dozen businesses that rely on tourism have had to cut back on staff, the Blick newspaper reported.

Meanwhile Swiss pleasure boat operators are reporting an increase in passengers as people take to the lakes instead of the mountains, the "Schweiz am Sonntag" reported.

The unseasonal December tops off a year that has been generally too warm, MeteoSwiss said.

The average temperature – 8.46 degrees – was 1.3 degrees higher than the mean temperature between 1981 and 2010.

The year was also very dry with more sun and less rain than usual, MeteoSwiss said.

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