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Heatwave in Switzerland: Scorching temperatures and peak days

The heatwave is expected to continue until Friday at least, with temperatures reaching 37C in parts of Switzerland - here's what to expect for the rest of the week.

Heatwave in Switzerland: Scorching temperatures and peak days
A boy jumps into Lake Geneva at sunset from a platform off the village of Lutry, western Switzerland on August 9th 2020. Switzerland is set for another hot week. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Swiss will face a renewed heatwave this week, with temperatures nearing 40C in parts of the country, according to the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss.

The agency said that temperatures would be between 17C and 37C on Thursday.

The maximum temperatures are expected for Basel, where few clouds block the scorching sun. Geneva and Sion will also see intense heat of around 36C, and all throughout the country, thermometers will be over the 30C mark.

READ ALSO: Body stress, drought and borders: How the heatwave affects Switzerland

On Friday, the sunny weather turns to rain and thunderstorms, especially in the west of Switzerland, though temperatures continue to be high. Geneva will see a maximum of 35C and a low of 21C. In Zurich and Basel, temperatures should be between 20C and 33C.

Over the weekend, the rain clouds move to the east and south of the country, where temperatures continue over the 30C, including in Lugano (33C on) and Sion (33C).

Weather alerts for extreme heat in Switzerland (MeteoSwiss)

Alerts for a heatwave in the coming days

MeteoSwiss has local warnings for a heatwave in the west and south (orange “significant hazard” warning) and northern region (yellow “moderate hazard”) on Thursday and Friday. On Saturday, only parts of the south have a significant hazard warning for high temperatures.

Intense, 30C-plus heat will persist on Friday, though a few thunderstorms are expected in some areas. “That said, no real deterioration is in sight for probably at least ten days, and temperatures should remain high next week, only accentuating the already very marked drought”, MeteoNews weather service noted.

Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has three “golden rules” for making it through heatwaves.

Each is relatively self-explanatory and isn’t exactly unique to Switzerland, but they are worth keeping in mind.

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

The first is to avoid exercise during the hottest part of the day. The second is to keep the heat out of your house however possible.

The final golden rule is to drink and eat smart. According to the FOPH, salads, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products are best, while drinking plenty of water is a must.

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Climate change transforming Switzerland ‘into Tuscany’, scientists warn

Rising temperatures in Switzerland caused by climate change are gradually transforming the famous Alpine scenery so it looks more like the dryer region of Tuscany, an environmental group has warned.

Climate change transforming Switzerland 'into Tuscany', scientists warn

Global warming is leading to a “tuscanisation” of Switzerland’s landscape, the Swiss Foundation for the Protection and Management of Landscape (Sl-Fp) warned on Monday.

And the transformation could have major consequences on the country’s tourism industry.

The increasing number of heatwaves and dry periods over the past twenty years in Switzerland have already had a big impact on the landscape.

On Monday the foundation warned that as these episodes increase, the colour of the Swiss landscape will visibly change due to the reduction in the amount of water feeding the landscapes.

READ ALSO: Why Switzerland’s glaciers are melting faster than usual this summer

It warned that “the romantic ideal of a ‘green’ and water-rich Switzerland seems to be undergoing a lasting transformation”.

They dominant colour of green will be replaced by lighter shades of yellow and brown that are reminiscent of the dry landscapes of the Tuscan valleys, the foundation wrote in a press release.

It also warned that at higher levels the retreat of glaciers and drop in the volume of water means the moraines high up in the mountains will vegetate at a much slower rate, meaning the Swiss mountains will be less green.

Natural streams and waterfalls are also drying up, a situation seen in Italy, in the Piedmontese and Ligurian Alps, notes the foundation.

READ ALSO: ‘An impossible dream’: Will we come to dread Swiss summer in future?

According to the foundation, increasing water loss and warmer temperatures have an impact on biodiversity and reduce landscape variety.

The changing landscape will also reduces the recreational value of the mountains and therefore hit the tourism industry hard, it warned.

A 2014 report by scientists that looked at the tangible ways the climate crisis will change Switzerland said that whilst melting glaciers was the most talked about change there are other ways the country will be affected.

“Agriculture will face increased heat stress for livestock, and tree species distribution will change. The tourist industry will have to cope with shorter ski seasons  and the urban population will be exposed to more heat days,” the report said.