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WEATHER

Wild weather: chaos as torrential rainfall strikes Lausanne

Heavy rainfall hit the Swiss city of Lausanne on Monday evening with authorities saying there was extensive damage.

Wild weather: chaos as torrential rainfall strikes Lausanne
Authorities have warned people to avoid parks and other green areas. Photo: Etienne Kocher

Emergency services had received 500 calls by 3am on Tuesday morning as the rain affected roads, houses and train and bus lines.

Fortunately, there were no reports of injuries. But authorities have warned people to stay away from parks and other green areas because of the risk of falling trees.

SRF Meteo said Lausanne saw 41.1 millilitres of rainfall in just 10 minutes at 11pm on Monday – what could be a new Swiss record if it is confirmed. The previous 10-minute record was seen in Eschenz in Thurgau on August 2nd 2017.

Train services were operating as normal around Lake Geneva on Tuesday morning although there were some delays, Lausanne daily 24 Heures reported.

WILDFIRES

Europe facing record year for wildfire destruction: 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.

Europe facing record year for wildfire destruction: 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.

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