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WEATHER

Storm winds expected again in parts of Switzerland

Weather forecasters expect gale-force winds in Western Switzerland for a second day on Tuesday after storm Ruzica swept across northern Europe.

Storm winds expected again in parts of Switzerland
Two people were injured after this sign blew over in Paris. Photo: Brigade de sapeurs-pompiers de Paris

On Monday, high winds disrupted passenger boat traffic on Lake Geneva, while gusts of over 100 kilometres an hour were recorded in Delémont (in the canton of Jura) and the city of Neuchâtel, the ATS news agency said.

MeteoSwiss, the national weather office, issued warnings of storm winds on Tuesday extending along the Jura Mountains from the canton of Vaud to the canton of Thurgau, as well as in the Chablais region of Valais, the Vaud Alps and Fribourg,

Two boat trips linking Lausanne and Thonon-les-Bains, France on the south side of Lake Geneva were cancelled on Monday afternoon, operator CGN said.

The company said that further disruptions were to be expected on Tuesday.

High winds also forced closure of ski lifts at resorts in the Bernese Oberland.

No deaths were initially reported but a tree fell on a car in the Simmental region of the canton of Bern, injuring the driver, ATS said.

The winds were caused by a storm caused by a low-pressure system that originated in the Atlantic.

Gusts of up to 150 kilometres an hour lashed Great Britain and over 140 km/h in northwest France.

A woman was left in a coma and another person was injured after an advertising billboard blew over in gale-force winds in Paris.

Thousands were left without electricity in Brittany and Normandy as power lines toppled.

Parts of Switzerland have seen remarkably high temperatures for this time of year after a warm Foehn wind blew through central parts of the country at the weekend.

MeteoSwiss said temperatures rose to 14 degrees in Altdorf in the canton of Uri on Monday, where the mercury is forecast to reach 16 degrees on Tuesday.

Basel can expect a high of 15 degrees on Tuesday, with a top reading of 14 degrees anticipated in Chur in the canton of Graubünden, with rain across the country.

Weather experts predict conditions will turn more wintry by Wednesday with snow forecast through the Alps.
 

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WEATHER

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.

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