Heavy rain puts an end to Switzerland’s heatwave

Rain across Switzerland and especially in the Ticino region on Sunday put an end to the country's sweltering heatwave.

Heavy rain puts an end to Switzerland's heatwave
Lago Maggiore in Ticino on a rainy day. File photo: Thierry Figini/Flickr

The mercury had topped 30C in many places last week, with several places experiencing their hottest days ever and the month of June expected to be one of the warmest on record.

But Sunday's rainfall, which was particularly heavy in the Ticino region, put an end to the hot spell.

Within a few hours, several areas recorded rainfall equivalent to more than half the average monthly amount, as well as hail and thunderstorms.

Between 4 and 5am on Sunday morning, 82 millimeters of rain had fallen in Lugano – the highest amount in one hour since 1981. The average rainfall in the city for the entire month of June is 164 mm.

By 7am, the weather station at Crana-Torricella had recorded 136 mm of rain, while Lugano had received 108 and Cadenazzo 53. The heavy rain led to local flooding and landslides, which disrupted traffic, according to SRF Meteo

In Lugano, 82mm in one hour. Exactly half the average monthly amount.

The north of the country also saw some rain, though not to the same extent, with 5-10C of rain falling around Lake Geneva.

On Monday, weather was warm but cloudly across most of the country, with highs of 27-30C but thunderstorms expected in the south.

But a cold front will sweep in towards the middle of the week, with more storms predicted to affect large parts of Switzerland on Wednesday and Thursday as average temperatures fall to 20-21C.


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2022 sees record wildfire destruction in Europe: EU

Europe's blistering summer may not be over yet, but 2022 is already breaking records, with nearly 660,000 hectares ravaged since January, according to the EU's satellite monitoring service.

2022 sees record wildfire destruction in Europe: EU

And while countries on the Mediterranean have normally been the main seats of fires in Europe, this year, other countries are also suffering heavily.

Fires this year have forced people to flee their homes, destroyed buildings and burned forests in EU countries, including Austria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Some 659,541 hectares (1.6 million acres) have been destroyed so far, data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) showed, setting a record at this point in the year since data collection began in 2006.

Europe has suffered a series of heatwaves, forest fires and historic drought that experts say are being driven by human-induced climate change.

They warn more frequent and longer heatwaves are on the way.

The worst-affected country has been Spain, where fire has destroyed 244,924 hectares, according to EFFIS data.

The EFFIS uses satellite data from the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).

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

The data comes after CAMS said Friday that 2022 was a record year for wildfire activity in southwestern Europe and warned that a large proportion of western Europe was now in “extreme fire danger”.

“2022 is already a record year, just below 2017,” EFFIS coordinator Jesus San-Miguel said. In 2017, 420,913 hectares had burned by August 13, rising to 988,087 hectares by the end of the year.

“The situation in terms of drought and extremely high temperatures has affected all of Europe this year and the overall situation in the region is worrying, while we are still in the middle of the fire season,” he said.

Since 2010, there had been a trend towards more fires in central and northern Europe, with fires in countries that “normally do not experience fires in their territory”, he added.

“The overall fire season in the EU is really driven mainly by countries in the Mediterranean region, except in years like this one, in which fires also happen in central and northern regions,” he added.