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WEATHER

Heatwave continues: Swiss cities break June temperature record

Bern and Sion had their hottest June days on record on Thursday as the heatwave continued its reign across the country.

Heatwave continues: Swiss cities break June temperature record
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Sion reached 36.6 degrees, surpassing its previous June record of 36.2 degrees in 2014, according to MeteoNews, while Bern reached 34.3 degrees, 0.1 degree hotter than the day before, which was also a record.
 
Fribourg, Interlaken and Lugano also saw their hottest ever days for the month of June on Thursday, as did the village of La Brévine in the Jura (33.2 degrees), better known for recording Switzerland’s lowest ever temperature of -41.8 degrees
 
The ski resort of Crans-Montana matched its all-time hottest temperature of 31 degrees, as did the Great St Bernard pass (21.6 degrees).
 
Source: MeteoSuisse
 
 
The country has been in the grip of a heatwave since the beginning of the week, and on the night of Wednesday to Thursday many places experienced a third consecutive tropical night, when temperatures did not drop below 20 degrees. 
 
Residents in the town of Vevey were subjected to the hottest overnight temperatures in the country, hitting no less than 25.3 degrees for the second night in a row.
 
According to MeteoNews, temperature will dip very slightly on the northern side of the Alps on Friday before rising again on the weekend, with highs of 35 degrees expected on the lowlands on Sunday.
 

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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.

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