Waterspouts form over Swiss lakes as cold weather hits

Waterspouts were sighted over Lake Zurich, Lake Constance and Lake Zug on Sunday morning, in what is a relatively rare phenomenon for Switzerland.

Waterspouts form over Swiss lakes as cold weather hits
The waterspout over Lake Zurich on Sunday. Photo: Daniel Gerstgrasser

This natural phenomenon forms when layers of unstable cold air make contact with a body of warm water, weather service SRF Meteo reported.

Although waterspouts are rare in Switzerland, when they do occur it is usually at this time of year as air temperatures take a dip towards autumn.

After a cold front passed across much of Switzerland on the weekend, air temperatures dropped dramatically while water temperatures were stable.

On Sunday morning, the water temperature in Lake Zurich was 23C while the air temperature lakeside was a chilly 9C.

“[Waterspouts] usually last a few minutes then quickly disappear,” said Eugen Müller with Meteo Schweiz.

Waterspouts over bodies of water are different from tornadoes over land and do not generally cause wide-scale damage, the meteorologist added.

While temperatures in Switzerland were well down over the weekend, the weather is set to warm up again over the next days, as the long summer of 2018 makes a reprise.

Read also: Have we seen the last 'hot' day of the summer?


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.