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WEATHER

In pics: Switzerland sees first snow of the winter

After a long summer and a warm autumn, parts of Switzerland saw heavy snowfall on the weekend, while authorities have issues an alert about possible flooding and landslides as heavy rain hits the south of the country.

In pics: Switzerland sees first snow of the winter
File image of a tourist at the Jungfraujoch in the Swiss canton of Bern. Photo: AFP

The snow came on Saturday night, just as the clocks were turned back an hour marking the end of Central European Summer Time.

The heaviest falls were seen in the eastern Alps with large parts of the canton of Graubünden over 1,200 metres above sea level seeing 30–70 centimetres of new snow.

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 
 
 

#eurasierinthesnow #prewintermornings #graubünden

A post shared by Reto Jäger (@swisshuntergr) on Oct 28, 2018 at 2:29am PDT

 

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 
 
 

First snow of the season ❄ as seen by @ellunas

A post shared by Graubünden (@graubuenden) on Oct 28, 2018 at 12:46am PDT

The Graubünden resort town of Arosa notched up the heaviest snowfall with 72 centimetres. Parts of southern Valais also saw 20–30 centimetres of the white stuff while the city of La Chaux-de-Fonds in Jura had nine centimetres.

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 
 
 

WINTER GREETINGS . 28 October 2018 It is the first kiss of winter – at least in the alps. I was so excited like a little child – even more than @rastawhiteshepherd ???. For me – when all around is white – I feel like I am in a fairytale… maybe as a red haired witch ?‍♀️?????? . . . #exploretheworld #nikondeutschland #ic_landscapes #loves_mountains #inlovewithswitzerland #blickheimat #hoherkasten #destination_Switzerland #switzerland_vacations #switzerlandpictures #super_switzerland #splendid_nature #splendid_earth #visitswitzerland #wonderful_places #best_earthscapes #nikonswitzerland #splendid_nature #splendid_earth #visitswitzerland #wonderful_places #best_earthscapes #earthfocus #winteriscoming

A post shared by Sylvia Michel ?? (@michelphotography_ch) on Oct 28, 2018 at 7:47am PDT

 

Meanwhile, the canton of Ticino was hit by very heavy rains over the weekend. On Sunday, some places in the canton experienced more than a months' average rainfall in less than 24 hours.

These heavy rains are set to continue until Tuesday, with parts of Valais and Ticino to be hardest hit. Authorities have issues warnings about possible landslides, mudslides and flooding across the south of the country. Gale force winds are also expected.

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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