Basel suffers wettest six months for 150 years

It may be sunny now, but parts of Switzerland have been wetter than ever in the first half of this year.

Basel suffers wettest six months for 150 years
Parts of Switzerland smashed the half-year record for rainfall. Photo: Jonathan Kos-Read

In Basel 732 millimetres of rain fell from January 1st to the end of June this year, nearly double the norm, said SRF Meteo on Friday.

That’s more than any other equivalent period since 1864 and more than the amount of rainfall in the whole of last year.

It also smashes the previous record, from 2001, when 639 millimetres of rain fell from January to June – nearly a hundred millimetres under this year’s six-month total.

While Basel was the soggiest, nearly all of Switzerland suffered higher than average rainfall in the first half of this year, with Zurich, Lucerne and St Gallen all experiencing at least 50 percent more rain than usual.

French-speaking Switzerland fared slightly better, with only 30 percent more rainfall than average.

The wet conditions caused havoc across the country in May and June, sparking electricity outages, road closures and flooding in villages, along with late snowfall and  swollen rivers and lakes.

However hot, dry weather finally arrived towards the end of June.

The forecast over the next week is mixed, with sunny spells and showers and temperatures in the mid 20s, said Meteo Suisse.

Source: Meteo Suisse

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Weather: Switzerland prepares for ‘record-breaking’ hot summer

The hot weather of the past week makes us wonder what the summer months will be like in Switzerland. Will we walk around in shorts and flip-flops or thermal underwear and boots? Find out what the experts say.

Weather: Switzerland prepares for 'record-breaking' hot summer

It has been hot in much of Switzerland over the last few days, with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees in some parts of the country.  But this is just a ‘foretaste’ of what lies ahead.

While this week is expected to be a bit cooler — more seasonal lower 20s —forecasts for the summer months call for even more intense heat.

“It will be hotter than usual,” according to Thomas Buchel, head of SRF Meteo.

“New heat records are very likely. It would be surprising if it went in another direction”, he said.

While it is too early now to predict just how hot it will get, the temperatures in certain Swiss regions “could hit 40 degrees”, Buchel pointed out.

This is close to this century’s previous “hottest” summer on record — 41.5 degrees measured in Grono, Graubünden 2003.

Another meteorologist, Joshua Gehring from the official weather service MeteoSwiss, said hotter weather “is a direct consequence of climate change”.

Specifically, a phenomenon called “heat dome” is hovering over Europe. It is, according to Gehring, “a stagnant anticyclone that acts as a lid to accumulate and retain heat”.

READ MORE: Heatwave: Why is it so hot in Switzerland right now?

But the environment is not the only one that is “suffering”, as it were, from this phenomenon.

According to 20 Minutes, “nearly 400 million francs are lost each year in Switzerland due to the heatwave and the drop in productivity that it causes in companies. That’s twice as much as the seasonal flu”.

“What is ideal for swimming or barbecuing cripples the economy. When working outdoors, performance drops quickly at such high temperatures”.

The Federal Office of Meteorology (MeteoSwiss) confirmed the dangers of extremely high temperatures on humans and nature alike.

“Periods of hot weather place extreme stress on the human body and can endanger health. Among other things, they can trigger cardiovascular and respiratory conditions and impair mental and physical performance”, MeteoSwiss writes.

“A hot spell can also have adverse effects on nature and infrastructure. For example, bodies of water often heat up considerably, causing fish to die, while high temperatures can lead to buckling of road surfaces and deformation of railway tracks”.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How the climate crisis is hitting Europe hard

So if you are a summer enthusiast and thrive in hot weather, you can look forward to sizzling temps.

But f you are more of a “cold” person, this article from April of this year may bring back fond memories:

Winter weather to continue in Switzerland this week