After 'exceptionally' warm February what's the outlook for spring in Switzerland?

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After 'exceptionally' warm February what's the outlook for spring in Switzerland?
The Alps in Switzerland during spring. Image by Julita from Pixabay

After an unseasonably warm February, spring in Switzerland also looks set to be warmer than average, according to forecasters.


With little snow on the ground at many of Switzerland's low-lying ski resorts, the winter sports season has been a difficult one in Europe. 

And it looks like the period of warmer-than-average weather will continue. 

From March until May, Swiss residents - especially those in German-speaking Switzerland - can expect temperatures averaging over 10.4C, according to a long-term outlook forecast by the national weather service, MeteoSwiss and reported on by Swiss newspaper Blick.

Although this may not sound super high, average temperatures for this time of year are typically below 10C.

According to forecasters' research, there is only a 10 percent chance that the average temperature in German-speaking Switzerland will fall below 9.6C.

READ ALSO: Do Swiss ski resorts have enough snow for the February holidays?

In French-speaking Switzerland, the weather service is expecting average temperatures of over 11C in spring. Italian-speaking Ticino, which is typically a sunny part of Switzerland, is expected to see the thermometer averaging above 12.8C.

February 'one of the warmest months ever'

According to Stephan Bader, meteorologist at MeteoSwiss, February 2024 was an exceptionally mild month, and it could go down as the warmest or second-warmest since records began.

Although pleasant, these forecasts are not necessarily good news because global warming is one of the reasons for the high temperatures. The likelihood of warm springs is increasing steadily as the earth gets warmer.

But how can meteorologists make forecasts several months ahead when the forecasts for the next few days are not always accurate? It's because experts don't calculate from individual events, but instead focus on the average trend in the weather, in other words: the climate. To do this they integrate data from marine buoys, aircraft and land stations around the world.

Long-term forecasting is still in its infancy in climate research but Switzerland is one of the leading countries in Europe.

However, expert Stephan Bader points out that these forecasts are always subject to change.


"Unlike weather forecasts, long-term forecasts are by their very nature subject to considerable uncertainty," he said. 

However, at the moment meteorologists in Europe are on the same page about the current long-term forecasts. For instance, the German Weather Service (DWD) is also predicting a warm spring this year. 

What's the outlook this week?

Despite the long-term outlook, this week there are reports of snow at higher altitudes in Switzerland, which may please ski fans. 

Locally, there will be up to 10 centimetres of fresh snow above 1,500 metres in the early hours of Tuesday. On Tuesday, it will then rain widely throughout Switzerland before it dries out again slightly on Wednesday.

For Ticino, the government has issued a 'considerable' risk level 3 warning due to heavy snowfall. The district of Moesa in the canton of Graubünden is also affected. The warning level applies until Tuesday at 9 am. Between 30 and 50 centimetres of fresh snow is expected.

READ ALSO: The Swiss ski resort seeing record amounts of snow


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