Switzerland set for cold snap this week

After several days of relatively mild temperatures, snow in the plains and a cold snap are expected in Switzerland in the next few days.

Switzerland set for cold snap this week
That's what parts of the country may look like this week. Photo by AFP

The disturbance that will cross the north of the Alps Wednesday night could dump four to eight cm of fresh snow on the Plateau Romand, according to a forecast by Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology (Meteosuisse).

Then the snow will give way to a particularly cold wind.

The plains should be covered with a snowpack of a few centimetres. The northern Plateau could receive up to eight cm of fresh snow due to a cold draft in the region. 

On the other hand, on the shores of Lake Geneva below 500 m, as well as in the Rhône valley, the snow should not exceed three cm. It is more likely to rain or rain-snow at lower elevations, Meteosuisse reports.

The rest of the week will also be significantly colder due an influx of polar air.

On the plateau, the temperature could drop to -8 to -12 degrees Centigrade.

READ MORE: Weather warning: Part of Swiss Alps placed on high avalanche alert

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Heatwave: Why is it so hot in Switzerland right now?

Not so long ago we complained about the cold and rainy weather in Switzerland, wishing for sunnier and warmer days. Our wish has come true — but why exactly is it so hot and what can we expect for the coming weeks?

Heatwave: Why is it so hot in Switzerland right now?

The temps have reached high 20s across much of Switzerland in the past days, but the best (or the worst, depending on who you ask) is yet to come: meteorologists forecast the high of 32 degrees for Friday.

“The current heat wave is relatively extreme for a month of May”, meteorologist Joshua Gehring from official weather service MeteoSwiss said in an interview with Watson news platform.

Why is it so unseasonably hot right now?

One reason should come as no surprise to anyone: “What we are currently experiencing, that is to say a relatively early heat wave, is a direct consequence of climate change”, Gehring noted.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How the climate crisis is hitting Europe hard

Specifically, a phenomenon called “heat dome” is hovering over Europe. It is, according to Gehring, “a stagnant anticyclone that acts as a lid to accumulate and retain heat”.

This is pretty much what happens when you put a lid over a boiling pot — the heat therein is captured and can’t escape.

What can we expect for next week?

The forecast calls for the heat wave to end from the beginning of next week, with more seasonal, 20-degree-plus temperatures expected throughout the country.

This is what the forecast looks like for Tuesday:

MeteoSwiss screenshot

What can you do in the meantime to cool down?

Indoor air-conditioning is rare in Switzerland, but keeping cool is easier outdoors.

For instance, the abundance of lakes and rivers in Switzerland provides a welcome relief on hot days.

And if you like swimming pools, the good news is (at least during a heat wave) that some are turning off heating to boycott Russian gas, so you could have a nice, cool swim.

READ MORE: Swiss pools go cold in boycott of Russian gas

Also, most public fountains in Switzerland spout cold water you can drink and splash yourself with.

If all else falls, head for the glaciers (while they last).