SHARE
COPY LINK

WEATHER

Weather alert: Heavy snow forecast to hit in Switzerland

Much of Switzerland will experience significant snowfall, which could trigger avalanches in the mountains, forecasters say.

Weather alert: Heavy snow forecast to hit in Switzerland
Heavy snow is expected in Switzerland this week. Photo by AFP

On Tuesday January 12th, up to 15 centimetres of fresh snow is expected to fall on parts of the country, the federal meteorological service MeteoSwiss said.

 

The service is issuing a Level 3 weather alert for the Western Jura, the Swiss-Romand Plateau, and the Vaud Prealps.

The hazard categories are numbered 1 to 5, with 5 being the most severe one.

Then, between Tuesday noon and Thursday evening, humid polar air, accompanied by strong winds, is expected to dump 80 to 110 centimetres of snow on the northern slope of the Alps and in Valais above 1,000 metres.

The heavy snowfall could “significantly increase” the risk of avalanches in all regions of Switzerland, according to Swiss Avalanche Bulletin. 

The snow follows closely what MeteoSwiss qualified as the coldest weather of the current winter season so far — on January 9th, the temperature  dropped to -30.7 degrees in Glattalp in canton Schwyz.
 

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What are the Covid-19 rules for skiing in Switzerland this winter? 

 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

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.

SHOW COMMENTS