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STORM

New storm to hit Switzerland on Thursday

The Swiss bureau of meteorology, MeteoSwiss, has issued a storm warning for Switzerland for Thursday. Activity is forecast to peak from noon until night.

New storm to hit Switzerland on Thursday
A file photo of a storm over Lake Geneva. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The new front, which has formed in the British Isles, is set to arrive in Switzerland around lunchtime. The warning level has been set at 3 out of a possible 5 for the majority of the country, with only the Lake Geneva region given a lower rating (of 2 out of 5). 

Named ’Tomris’ in German, it is set to bring winds of up to 100km/h on the lowlands and of up to 120km/h in mountainous areas. 

READ: Why do storms in Switzerland have two names? 

Rain and snow are also expected. 

While conditions are set to run for most of the day on Thursday, a clear front is predicted to move in and bring with it sunnier weather on Friday heading into the weekend. 

Several lowland areas have predicted temperatures of 14 degrees on Sunday. 

Warmest winter on record

Despite the storm fronts which have gripped the country for over a week, the winter has been mild from a temperature perspective. 

With averages 2.5 degrees higher than the previous high set in the winter of 2006-07, this winter is set to be the warmest ever recorded. 

 

 

Another record was broken in Zurich on Wednesday.

The mark of February 12th is the latest date in the season that the city has not seen snowfall. Zurich’s weather is not predicted to drop below zero in the coming week, meaning a new record will be set. 

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STORM

Why do storms in Switzerland have two names?

Depending on which part of the Swiss press you've been reading, the storm savaging Switzerland is known as either Ciara or Sabine. But why?

Why do storms in Switzerland have two names?
Lightening crashes over Lausanne. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

For anyone watching the news over the past week, amid the news about damage, canceled flights and inclement weather, one thing may have been a little confusing – is the inclement weather the work of Ciara or Sabine?

The answer to the question is ‘both’ – although that doesn’t mean there were two storms tearing their way across Switzerland last weekend (even if it may have felt like it). 

READ: Roads closed and planes grounded as 'record-breaking' storms sweep Switzerland

The real reason is that the storm is known as Ciara in French-speaking Switzerland and Sabine in the German-speaking part. 

Germany the first to name storms in Europe

The reason for the different names, as reported by Swiss daily 20 Minutes, owes to the origins of storm naming – which goes back to the Free University of Berlin in 1954. 

The University in 1954 was the first institution in Europe to name storms, following on from the American Weather Service in World War Two. 

Originally, all low pressure systems were given female names and high pressure systems given male names. 

This changed in 1998 when people started to call into doubt the practice of naming bad weather after women and good weather after men. The practice was changed to alternate the gender of the names of high and low pressure systems in odd and even years.

One rule for German-speaking Europe, another for the rest of the continent

German-speaking Europe now complies with the name given by the Free University – a rule which extends well beyond Berlin but also into Austria and Switzerland. 

On the rest of the continent however, the country which is first impacted by the storm is the first to name it – with other European countries following suit. 

Ciara, which was identified as a depression across England, was named there – before moving to the European mainland. 

With German spoken alongside French and Italian – and of course Romansh – in Switzerland, it means that the same storm can be ravishing the country with two names. 

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