Several injured as violent storms hit Switzerland

At least seven people were injured on Saturday afternoon when violent storms swept over Switzerland, particularly central areas.

Several injured as violent storms hit Switzerland
File photo: Depositphotos
In Lucerne, four people were injured by falling trees, while one person was seriously injured in the village of Alpnach when a tree fell on their vehicle, reported news agency ATS.
A two-year-old boy was gravely injured in Brassus in the canton of Vaud when the bouncy castle he was playing in was carried away by the wind, said Vaud police. He suffered injuries to the legs and body and was taken to hospital in Lausanne. A girl was also slightly injured.
Three climbers on the via ferrata on the Moléson mountain in canton Fribourg had to be evacuated after being surprised by the storm.
Elsewhere, a train derailed in Simmental, canton Bern, after hitting rocks that had fallen on to the line during the storm.  No one was injured.
The festival Züri Fascht, in Zurich, which attracted more than 2.5 million people over the weekend, was briefly interrupted by the storm. 
The storm swept across most of the country from west to east, said MeteoSuisse, with winds reaching 135km/hour in Lucerne, the third highest figure since records began. On the summit of the Pilatus mountain near Lucerne, gusts up to 162km/hour were recorded.
The weather is set to be changeable this week, with sunshine for the first half of the week, followed by rain towards Thursday and Friday.
Source: MeteoSuisse

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What’s next after Switzerland’s ‘extremely worrying’ heatwave?

Switzerland hit record high temperatures for June for the first time in 75 years on Sunday but what's the forecast for the coming days and weeks?

What's next after Switzerland's 'extremely worrying' heatwave?

With 36.9C recorded in Beznau, in the canton of Aargau on Sunday, Switzerland equalled the high temperature record held by Basel since 1947.

Other Swiss towns experienced sweltering temperatures as well: In Neuchâtel the mercury rose to 36.5C, in Sion it hit 36.4C and  in Lausanne it was 32.6C, according to MeteoNews.

Temperatures were decidedly more pleasant at high altitudes in the mountains: the temperature of 16.9C was recorded at 2,900 metres in the shade on the Diablerets glacier.

Whilst lower down at the Moléson in Fribourg, which stands at 2,000 metres, a more seasonal 24 degrees was recorded.

Like its neighbours, “Switzerland is not immune to brief and extreme phenomena”, climatologist Martin Beniston, honorary professor at the University of Geneva, said in an interview with Tribune de Genève.

And if high temperatures continue — as they are forecast for next days — “the very dry ground will reinforce the warming, it is a vicious circle”, said Vincent Devantay, meteorologist from MeteoNews.

This means higher risk of fires, especially in the forest. “They have really dried up compared to last year. The lack of rain is becoming extremely worrying”, he pointed out.

Thunderstorms are predicted in parts of Switzerland towards the end of the week but they will not necessarily prevent the drought, Beniston said.

What the soil needs are “gentle showers, repeated, for two to three weeks”, rather than occasional heavy thunderstorms that don’t provide enough moisture for the earth’s deeper layers.

Continued rains are not expected in the immediate future and  forecasts for the summer months predict more intense heatwaves.

READ MORE: How this week’s heatwave will hit Switzerland and how to stay cool

What are the consequences of the heatwave and no rain?

As The Local already reported, Swiss glaciers are now melting faster than usual, partly due to the early heat wave in May.
READ MORE: Why Switzerland’s glaciers are melting faster than usual this summer

But there is more.

Hydrologist Massimiliano Zappa, also warns that current very high temperatures and no rain could speed up the drought across Switzerland, especially as Swiss rivers and streams “have a lower flow than the average of previous years”.

Water rationing could become inevitable, he said.

 “In Spain and southern Italy, for example, people know how to get by with little water, because they have been educated to meet their daily needs with less. But this is not part of Swiss mentality”, Zappa said.

The heat wave could also impact railway installations as well as electronic devices, according to Le Temps newspaper.

“Overheated smartphones, expanding rails, and computer fans running at full speed: high temperatures put a strain on infrastructure and our everyday objects, while requiring more energy”, Le Temps said.