SHARE
COPY LINK

WEATHER

Finally: Switzerland set for spring temperatures this week

Maximums are expected to hit the magic 20C-mark on Tuesday in some places with Föhn winds dominating weather patterns.

Finally: Switzerland set for spring temperatures this week
Two elderly Swiss women go for a walk in Grut. Photo: Tambako The Jaguar / Flickr Creative Commons.

After a cool and grey March marked by a distinct lack of sunshine in many parts of Switzerland, spring is set to finally gain a foothold in the coming days.

While maximums are expected to stay just below the 20C mark on Tuesday in most places, they are forecast to surpass this barrier on Tuesday in locations including Basel and Chur, according to SRF Meteo.

But the spring-like temperatures on Tuesday will be accompanied by strong winds in valleys where so-called Föhn conditions predominate.

These Föhn conditions periodically hit Switzerland and other parts of central Europe, warming the climate as moist winds off the Mediterranean Sea blow over the Alps.

Gusts of wind between 80 and 120 km/h were predicted for Monday and Tuesday. Storm warnings are in place for parts of central and eastern Switzerland.

The Föhn conditions in the north of the country at the beginning of the week will also mean somewhat wetter conditions for the south the country.

Spring will then take a short pause on Thursday with conditions becoming cooler and windy. The snow line will come down to 1,000 metres as the weather turns changeable.

However, the spring should arrive again on the weekend, with temperatures again hitting 20C, or perhaps even a touch higher, across most of the country.

WEATHER

Climate crisis: Swiss lakes at lowest-ever August levels

Some of Switzerland's best-known lakes are at their lowest level ever for August after a dry year so far in 2022, the environment ministry said on Wednesday.

Climate crisis: Swiss lakes at lowest-ever August levels

Some of Switzerland’s best-known lakes are at their lowest level ever for August after a dry year so far in 2022, the environment ministry said on Wednesday.

At the same time, discharge levels on the Rhine, one of Europe’s major rivers which starts in the Swiss Alps, have never been so low in August since records began.

“There is a low water situation in Switzerland, especially on the central plateau and in the southern part of Ticino,” the country’s southernmost canton, said Michele Oberhansli, from the Federal Office for the Environment’s hydrology division.

READ ALSO: Water flown in by helicopter: How Switzerland has been hit by drought

“The reason for the existing situation is a precipitation deficit in the whole year of 2022, which affects the whole of Switzerland, as well as many other European countries,” she told AFP.

Soil moisture is down across the country and drought is affecting forests and agriculture, she said.

Lakes Constance, Lucerne, Lugano and Walen “are currently recording water levels that have never been so low in an August month since measurements began”, said Oberhansli.

Meanwhile Lakes Zug and Maggiore “continue to show values well below average”.

The shores of Lake Maggiore mark the lowest point in Switzerland, normally at 193 metres above sea level.

READ ALSO: MAP: The Swiss regions in danger of wildfires and the measures in place to avoid them

Except the lakes in the Jura region in the northwest and Lake Thun, the levels of all the other larger Swiss lakes are also below the long-term average.

Rivers down, glaciers melting

Meanwhile many Swiss rivers are recording readings that only occur once every two to 20 years.

“Discharge values on the Reuss and Rhine have never been so low since measurements began in August,” said Oberhansli.

The hydrologist said rain over the coming days should “slightly alleviate” the low water and drought levels, but would “not yet be sufficient to ease the overall situation”.

Following a dry winter, the summer heatwaves hitting Europe have been catastrophic for Switzerland’s Alpine glaciers, which have been melting at an accelerated rate.

READ ALSO: IN PICTURES: Runners take on Swiss glacier race despite melt

A layer of ice — 15 metres thick in 2012 — has covered the Tsanfleuron Pass between two glaciers since at least the Roman era.

But most of it has gone and the ice on the pass will have melted away completely by the end of September, a ski resort said last week.

SHOW COMMENTS