Avalanche warnings as Valais recovers from record snowfall

Police in the canton of Valais have warned skiers to keep on the marked runs as the avalanche risk rises to 3 or 4 out of 5 in resorts across the region.

Avalanche warnings as Valais recovers from record snowfall
File photo: jazavac/Depositphotos
Valais has experienced some of the heaviest December snowfall in years over the last few days, not just in the mountains but down to the valley floor. 
Sion, the cantonal capital, received a record 65cms of snow over the weekend, and pictures published by local paper Le Nouvelliste showed residents skiing down the streets. Around 80cms fell at higher altitude. 
While most of Switzerland experienced some snow on the weekend, temperatures warmed up on Sunday afternoon turning the precipitation to rain in many places, however the particular meteorological conditions in the Valais meant it kept snowing.
“It’s what I call the Valais miracle, when cold air is trapped in the valley although there’s a thaw at altitude,” meteorologist Frederic Glassey told news agency ATS
The weather played havoc on the roads, leaving some 2,000 motorists stuck on the A9 motorway. Strong winds meant snow was even carried into road tunnels, said Glassey. 
On Tuesday Valais police warned people against walking in forests, saying trees have been weakened by the snowfall and the subsequent thaw, meaning there’s a risk of some falling. 
Skiers should stick to the pistes since “the few days following snowfall are the most dangerous” for avalanches, police warned.
However conditions for skiers who stay on the marked slopes are likely to be incredible.
It's certainly a change from last year when Switzerland experienced its driest December for 150 years


9,000 lightning bolts: Heavy storms sweep across Switzerland

Hurricane-like gusts have swept across much of Switzerland on Sunday and Monday. Weather experts have counted at least 9,000 lightning bolts striking since Sunday.

9,000 lightning bolts: Heavy storms sweep across Switzerland

As of Monday morning however, the storms have largely receded in most of the country. 

Swiss weather service Meteonews said the canton of Bern was the heaviest hit, with 2,500 lightning strikes. 

Around 850 were recorded in Uri, followed by Fribourg, Vaud and St Gallen. 

Winds of 111km/h were recorded on the Weissfluhjoch summit, while wind speeds of 85km/h were recorded in Meiringen and Sitten. 

Monday will experience some winds, but will largely be sunny. 

Temperatures of 24C degrees are predicted in the north of the country, while heights of 30C are predicted for the centre and south.