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WEATHER

Switzerland enjoys first ‘tropical’ night of the year

Temperatures in the Italian-speaking southern Swiss region of Ticino surpassed 20 degrees in the night of Wednesday to Thursday, making it the country’s first ‘tropical’ night of the year.

Switzerland enjoys first ‘tropical’ night of the year
A summer night in Zurich. Photo: exinocactus/Depositphotos
Locarno reached 20.7 degrees during the night, while Stabio was an even warmer 22.1 degrees, according to MeteoNews.
 
The country is currently enjoying its first prolonged spell of summer weather, which should last until the middle of next week, according to forecasters. 
 
The warm, dry weather should help attract people to the annual ‘open cellars’ event in the Valais this weekend. 
 
According to news agency ATS some 240 vineyards are throwing open their doors this weekend, a record number for the event, which is now in its 11th year. 
 
The ‘caves ouvertes’ weekend is a important – and profitable – promotional event for winegrowers, and a particularly crucial one this year as they face the prospect of severely reduced harvests following the frosts in late April that affected around 40 percent of vines in the canton. 
 
“Given the surge in sympathy after the recent episode of frost, we are expecting an increase in the number of visitors at this year’s event,” Yves Aymon, president of winegrowers association IVV told ATS. 
 
Temperatures are expected to surpass 30 degrees in southern parts of the country this weekend, with everywhere enjoying dry, sunny and warm weather until next Tuesday when storms are forecast. 
 
Enjoying the sun this holiday weekend? Send us your pictures of Switzerland in the sun to [email protected] or tag us on Instagram/thelocalswitzerland.

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SWISS CHEESE

‘Critical situation’: Drought threatens Switzerland’s cheese production

The long dry spell has impacted much of the country’s agriculture, including the production of milk and cheese in some Swiss regions.

‘Critical situation’: Drought threatens Switzerland’s cheese production

It is difficult to imagine Switzerland without its cheese, but the heatwave and lack of water is playing a part in this worst-case scenario, with even the iconic Gruyère under threat. 

Usually, Swiss cows spend the summer high up the mountains, grazing on Alpine pastures until they are brought down – sometimes with a bit of local ceremony – from the mountains onto the plain in the fall.

But this year’s heatwave  and drought have disrupted this traditional process – with parched meadows running short of both grass and water, forcing farmers in canton of Vaud to bring their cattle to the lower ground in the middle of summer.

Vaud agricultural authorities estimate that 60 out of Jura’s 200 mountain pastures are “in acute lack of water” and even though the canton is supplying water to the breeders, “the unprecedented heatwave will in any case affect the production of milk and cheese”, Le Temps daily reported.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why are cows so important in Switzerland?

The situation is similarly dire in the canton of Fribourg, where the famous Gruyère cheese has been produced for centuries.

“The situation is tense, even critical”, according to Frédéric Ménétrey, director of the Fribourg Chamber of Agriculture, who said that 15 alpine pastures that are inaccessible by road are being supplied by private helicopters.

With “lack of water and dry grass”, milk production could be reduced by “20 to 30 percent”, Said Dominique de Buman, president of the Fribourg Cooperative of Alpine Cheese Producers.

This also means that less Gruyère will be made this year and, if heatwaves and droughts become a standard summer weather, “we must reflect on how to adapt the alpine economy and agriculture to global warming”, Éric Mosimann, manager of the Vaud Society of Alpine Economy, pointed out.
 
 READ MORE: How Switzerland is protecting its cheeses from foreign influence

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