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Coldest January gives way to spring-like February

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Foehn clouds. Photo: Jan Remund
09:17 CET+01:00
After the coldest January for 30 years, temperatures across Switzerland rose dramatically on Thursday, reaching 16 degrees in some parts of the country.
A strong foehn wind was responsible for bringing temperatures up to 16.4C in Evionnaz in the Valais, said MeteoNews in a statement. 
 
Buchs in the canton of St Gallen and Schattdorf in Uri also surpassed 16C, while temperatures were generally in double figures across the country’s lowlands. 
 
The strong foehn reached a maximum of 101km/hr at Les Diablerets in the canton of Vaud, it added.
 
However the warm spell is not a record-breaker for the month of February. That was set in February 1998 when the mercury rose to a summery 21.7C.
 
The foehn wind is a special feature of the Swiss climate and occurs mainly between autumn and spring, according to MeteoSuisse. 
 
It generally produces mild and dry conditions and high wind speeds.  
 
The foehn is a stark contrast to the cold bise wind that is another characteristic of the Swiss weather and was responsible for a particularly icy spell in January. 
 
The bise strengthens between the Jura mountains and prealps, on the shore of Lake Geneva – as was witnessed in mid January when gusts of up to 142km/hr battered western Switzerland and made the already frigid temperatures feel even colder. 
 
The current warm spell is bad news for La Brévine, known as the coldest place in Switzerland, which plans to celebrate its reputation with its annual ‘cold festival’ this Saturday.
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