Switzerland: Which areas are at the greatest risk of flooding this weekend?

With thunderstorms predicted across Switzerland from Saturday onwards, several parts of the country are bracing for floods.

Switzerland: Which areas are at the greatest risk of flooding this weekend?
Flooding in Lake Zurich. Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

After almost a week of warm, sunny weather, Switzerland is readying itself for another weekend of thunderstorms. 

While these will not be as intense as those experienced previously as a result of the low pressure system Bernd, they still pose a significant risk in several parts of the country. 

This is because the capacity of soil and water systems to absorb more water is limited, with several lakes and rivers still at breaking point and the soil already soaked through. 

READ MORE: Switzerland drains lakes ahead of predicted weekend rainfall

While the rain is set to fall all across the country, several areas are bracing for flood risk. 

Where is the risk of flooding the highest? 

The canton of Freiburg has warned of flood risk along the Broye. 

Alertswiss has warned of a flooding risk on the shores of the Neuchâtel, Murten, Gruyere and Schwarzee lakes. 

Emergency officials told Swiss news site 20 Minutes that the warning was a precautionary measure on the basis of the forecast thunderstorms for the weekend. 

Authorities in Schwyz said the are issuing a medium-level warning for waterways in the canton. 

The water level in Lake Biel also remains high, although authorities have said they are pleased with the drainage of groundwater in recent days. 

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Weather: Switzerland prepares for ‘record-breaking’ hot summer

The hot weather of the past week makes us wonder what the summer months will be like in Switzerland. Will we walk around in shorts and flip-flops or thermal underwear and boots? Find out what the experts say.

Weather: Switzerland prepares for 'record-breaking' hot summer

It has been hot in much of Switzerland over the last few days, with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees in some parts of the country.  But this is just a ‘foretaste’ of what lies ahead.

While this week is expected to be a bit cooler — more seasonal lower 20s —forecasts for the summer months call for even more intense heat.

“It will be hotter than usual,” according to Thomas Buchel, head of SRF Meteo.

“New heat records are very likely. It would be surprising if it went in another direction”, he said.

While it is too early now to predict just how hot it will get, the temperatures in certain Swiss regions “could hit 40 degrees”, Buchel pointed out.

This is close to this century’s previous “hottest” summer on record — 41.5 degrees measured in Grono, Graubünden 2003.

Another meteorologist, Joshua Gehring from the official weather service MeteoSwiss, said hotter weather “is a direct consequence of climate change”.

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”.

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

But the environment is not the only one that is “suffering”, as it were, from this phenomenon.

According to 20 Minutes, “nearly 400 million francs are lost each year in Switzerland due to the heatwave and the drop in productivity that it causes in companies. That’s twice as much as the seasonal flu”.

“What is ideal for swimming or barbecuing cripples the economy. When working outdoors, performance drops quickly at such high temperatures”.

The Federal Office of Meteorology (MeteoSwiss) confirmed the dangers of extremely high temperatures on humans and nature alike.

“Periods of hot weather place extreme stress on the human body and can endanger health. Among other things, they can trigger cardiovascular and respiratory conditions and impair mental and physical performance”, MeteoSwiss writes.

“A hot spell can also have adverse effects on nature and infrastructure. For example, bodies of water often heat up considerably, causing fish to die, while high temperatures can lead to buckling of road surfaces and deformation of railway tracks”.

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

So if you are a summer enthusiast and thrive in hot weather, you can look forward to sizzling temps.

But f you are more of a “cold” person, this article from April of this year may bring back fond memories:

Winter weather to continue in Switzerland this week