Violent thunderstorms predicted for Zurich and Aargau

After the hottest day of the year in Switzerland, violent thunderstorms have been predicted for Zurich and Aargau, while inclement weather is expected for much of the rest of the country.

Violent thunderstorms predicted for Zurich and Aargau
Lightning illuminates the night sky over the village of Cully surrounded by the vineyard terraces of Lavaux on the banks of Leman Lake from Chexbres. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Level 3 thunderstorm warnings have been issued for the cantons of Zurich and Aargau, just one day after Switzerland’s hottest day of the year so far. 



Monday was the hottest day on record in 2020, with temperatures in the mid-30s across Switzerland. 

The predictions come at a welcome time, with fire warnings and bans issued throughout several regions. 

In Aargau, a fire ban came in for forested areas from 4pm on Tuesday, while fireworks will only be allowed more than 200 metres from the forested area. 



The warning comes just days before Switzerland’s National Day on August 1st, which is traditionally celebrated with fireworks. 

Smaller crowds, more fireworks: How Swiss National Day will be celebrated in corona times 


Heatwave hotline set up

In Zurich, authorities on Monday set up a ‘heatwave hotline’ to help to advise residents on how to behave in ever-warmer temperatures.

Quite literally a hotline, callers can get information on how to behave during the heatwave and the steps they can take to reduce its impact.

The number has been set up by the Red Cross in Zurich, but can be called by residents across Switzerland.

Hitze kann eine grosse gesundheitliche Belastung sein. Das städtische Hitze-Telefon bietet – von Juli bis September – Information und Beratung sowie kostenlose Hausbesuche während einer Hitzewelle an. ?044 412 00 60

— Rotes Kreuz Zürich (@RotesKreuz_ZH) July 28, 2020

The number is 044 412 00 60. 

Monday was the hottest day of the year so far in Switzerland, with temperatures expected to continue to climb in the coming days, particularly in Ticino and Geneva. 

Temperatures rose into the mid-30s in Basel and Geneva, while the mark of 30 degrees was breached across the country. 

Heute war vielerorts der #heisseste Tag des bisherigen Sommers 2020. In Genf gab es knapp 34 Grad, in Basel knapp 33 Grad. Im Flachland wurde vielerorts die #Hitzemarke von 30 Grad erreicht. Freitag/Samstag wird es wohl noch heisser. (rp)

— MeteoNews (@MeteoNewsAG) July 27, 2020

During the night on Monday the weather remained warm, with the mercury staying above 20 in several Swiss regions. 

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‘Don’t sleep naked’: How to get a good night’s sleep in a Swiss heatwave

As temperatures climb again, many people may struggle to get a good night's sleep in Switzerland. Here are some expert tips to help you even when it's sweltering hot.

‘Don’t sleep naked’: How to get a good night’s sleep in a Swiss heatwave

Switzerland’s summers tend to get hotter and this season has seen its share of heatwaves, bringing temperatures closer to 40C and making it almost impossible to sleep.

This could mean trouble for residents of a country better prepared to bear the cold weather than the extreme heat.

The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has three ‘golden rules’ for how to make it through heatwaves; avoid exercise during the hottest part of the day, keep the heat out of your house however you can, drink and eat smart (fresh foods and lots of water).

With night temperatures in some regions above 20C, Swiss residents will also need some help getting through the night.

Here are a few tips to keep cool overnight and enjoy better sleep despite the heat of the night.

Don’t sleep naked

It’s tempting to ditch the PJs when it’s this warm overnight. But sleep experts say this is a mistake, as any moisture from sweat accumulates on your body.

Cotton pyjamas and cotton sheets are very effective in absorbing and removing sweat from your body.

Give a little help to your internal clock

Many people think that it is only the extreme heat in summer making your sleep seem a bit worse than in the colder months. But the fact that days are brighter for longer makes a huge difference.

READ ALSO: How Switzerland’s largest cities are combating the heat

As light suppresses our body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that signals that it is time to sleep, the longer days irritate our internal clock, according to sleep experts.

The old tip of turning off your devices to avoid the blue light is also extra crucial. So around one hour before going to bed, you can start your “darkening” ritual throughout your home.

In that sense, it’s also better to avoid naps during the day to keep a better sleep routine.

Try to cool your room and yourself

Of course, the cooler temperatures are in your bedroom when you go to sleep, the better. You can help get temperatures a few degrees down by following these tips: keep the blinds and windows shut during the worst of the day and ventilate the cooler night breeze during the night.

Sleeping during a heatwave can be difficult. Photo: Yuris Alhumaydy / Unsplash

You can also moisten your curtains just before bedtime and leave the window open; the water evaporation will make it a bit cooler. If you can, another tip is to put your mattress on the floor as hot air rises – excellent advice for those sleeping on a bunk bed.

Don’t forget to turn off (and unplug!) electrical appliances, as those are heat sources.

READ ALSO: Eight great swimming spots to escape the Swiss summer heat

To cool yourself, you could take a lukewarm evening shower (not a hot one, those will make your body react by generating heat).

Fans and humidity help

As long as you’ve kept your room relatively cool, fans work. They help evaporate sweat which, in turn, helps your body regulate its temperature.

Putting a bowl of ice in front of the fan can also help cool the room.

Some people swear by dampening their sheets before going to bed. But if you’re not used to it, the feeling can be a little disconcerting. You can also place multiple ice containers in the corners of your room, which will melt slowly overnight and cool the air.

Why is it essential to have a good night’s sleep?

Several days of scorching temperatures can cause heat stress, according to the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute.

If the nights are not cool enough, the body can’t recover from the heat of the day, creating a dangerous condition called “thermal stress”, which can be fatal for the elderly and other vulnerable people.

While there are no statistics showing how many people have fallen victim to heat stress during the most recent heatwave, several cantons have implemented a system of home visits and frequent phone contact with this at-risk group.

READ MORE: How to keep your cool during Switzerland’s heatwave