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WEATHER

Updated: Geneva airport reopens after snow forced Friday morning closure

Geneva’s Cointrin airport was forced to close again on Friday morning after a new wave of snow hit the area.

Updated: Geneva airport reopens after snow forced Friday morning closure
Photo: teamtime/Depositphotos
A statement on the airport’s website in the morning said it was currently closed until further notice “because of the prevailing weather conditions”. 
 
The runways reopened at 11.30am, but passengers are nevertheless advised to check with their airline to see if their flight is still scheduled for departure, since delays and cancellations are expected.
 
The airport said bottles of water were being handed out to people waiting in the check-in lounge, and free wi-fi was made available to everyone. 
 
The airport was initially closed on Thursday due to heavy snow. It reopened later that day. 
 
The weather is expected to improve on Friday afternoon. 
 
 
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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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