Northern Switzerland records ‘latest summer day ever’

The thermometer climbed over the 30C-mark in the Swiss city of Chur on Friday making it the latest 'hot' day ever recorded north of the Alps in Switzerland.

Northern Switzerland records 'latest summer day ever’
Boats beside a jetty on the dried out bed of Lac Brenet in the Swiss canton of Vaud on September 20th. Photo: AFP

The summer of 2018 is the gift that keeps on giving.

On Friday, temperatures in Chur, the capital of Graubüden, hit the magic 30-degree mark, which indicates a 'hot' day for meteorologists.

Read also: IN PICTURES – 12 photos that will get you excited about autumn in Switzerland

That is the latest date this has ever happened in the part of Switzerland that lies north of the Alps and two days later than the previous record for northern Switzerland set in 1947 when 30C was seen on September 19th.

South of the Alps, the latest ever ‘hot’ day ever was on September 25th in 1983.

But the forecast for coming days suggests autumn may finally be on the way with distinctly cooler temperatures coming up for much of the country, especially from Monday on.

Image: MeteoSuisse

The new season will likely come as a shock after five months in a row of warmer than usual weather

August 2018 was the third warmest on record but a long way short of the hot temperatures seen in the legendary ‘once-in-a-century’ summer of 2018.

But while the good weather has been welcomed by many, it has also led to drought conditions in certain areas.

There has also been a high number of drownings while experts fear 2018 could see a new record for the number of deaths in the Swiss mountains after the good conditions saw more people heading to the Alps.

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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).