Switzerland braces for coldest temperatures in six years
If you think it’s been bitterly cold this week, well, you haven’t seen anything yet: next week temperatures are expected to plunge across the country in a rare cold snap set to be the chilliest since February 2012.
Temperatures will remain below -5 degrees during the day and below -10 at night, MeteoNews said in a press release. At above 1,500m altitude that will drop to -15 degrees.
The cold spell will start on Sunday when arctic air will start to reach Switzerland from Russia.
That will be compounded by a strong bise wind (30-50km/hr on average), which could cause temperatures to feel more like -20 degrees with windchill, even in low-lying areas, said MeteoSuisse.
The bise could also turn spray on the lakeshores to ice, potentially causing the sort of dramatic pictures last seen in 2012, when a similarly cold period with a bise wind created ice sculptures on the shores of Lake Geneva.
In 2012 a bise wind and frigid temperatures caused scenes like these. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
However next week’s chill is unlikely to rival 2012’s in duration. Back then the intense cold lasted for two weeks and included three distinct periods of bise; next week’s cold snap is expected to last for five days with only one episode of bise.
Though the country is already rather chilly, with temperatures hovering around zero degrees over the past couple of days and a bise wind, the current weather is simply standard for winter, unlike next week’s exceptional cold, said meteorologists.
The news comes after January was announced as the warmest on record in some low-lying parts of the country.
The higher temperatures were a consequence of frequent storms coming from the west and south-west which prevented cold air from stagnating on the Swiss plains, which is what normally happens in winter.
However it was a different story at altitude, where temperatures were about normal for the month of January and copious snow fell across the Swiss Alps, causing some villages to be cut off.