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Weather: Thunderstorms predicted for central and southern Switzerland on Monday afternoon

After a few days of sunny and dry weather, heavy rains and hail storms have resumed in Swiss regions over the weekend. This is what the situation is right now and what is expected for the coming days.

Weather: Thunderstorms predicted for central and southern Switzerland on Monday afternoon
30,000 lightning bolts hit Switzerland over the weekend. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

Swiss federal weather forecasters have predicted heavy storms for much of central and southern Switzerland from Monday lunchtime onwards. 

Forecasters have predicted a severity of 3 out of a possible 4. The strongest storms are predicted from 1pm to 6pm. 

The following tweet shows where the heaviest storms are forecast. 

Thunderstorms and heavy rains raged across Switzerland, and about 30,000 lightning bolts hit overnight from Saturday to Sunday.

Some areas, including central Switzerland and Ticino, were particularly impacted, flooding basements, blocking roads, and disrupting rail traffic. However, no one was hurt.

In Appenzell, over 33.2 millimeters of rain fell in 10 minutes on Saturday evening — the largest accumulations of precipitation ever measured in such a short time in Switzerland.

In Appenzell Ausserrhoden, large hail stones were dumped on several localities.

READ MORE: Floods: Why was Switzerland impacted less severely than Germany?

What is the forecast for this week?

“We have survived the worst for now,” said Stefan Scherrer, meteorologist at MeteoNews.

After Monday’s storms, individual showers or thunderstorms may continue sporadically for the remainder of the week, “but they will not be severe”.

For the next few days, Scherrer predicts changeable weather.

The sun will peek through the clouds occasionally, interspersing with rain thunderstorms, he said.

Overall, the situation is not expected to be as dire as it had been in the past 10 days, with Swiss lakes and rivers swelling, bursting their banks and flooding nearby areas.

The level of lakes and rivers has fallen to near-normal or normal levels.

READ MORE: Weather update: Lake Zurich bursts banks, Lucerne preparing for flooding

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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.

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