High temperatures rewrite record books

Ever since records began in the 19th century, the mercury hasn’t risen so high in Switzerland so early in the year as it did this weekend.

This content was published on April 10, 2011 minutes and agencies

On Friday, the 30 degrees Celsius experienced in Lugano, canton Ticino, marked the earliest very hot day ever.

On Saturday, the Swiss Meteorological Office saw the record temperature of 31.8 degrees in neighbouring Locarno.

The record books also had to be written north of the Alps. In Basel on Thursday the temperature reached 26 degrees; only three other times in recorded history has the mercury risen above 25 north of the Alps in April.

The high temperatures – 25 degrees north of the Alps and 30 below them – continued on Saturday and Sunday.

The hot spell was also unusual when compared internationally: on Saturday Switzerland was one of the ten hottest places in Europe. Locarno was just as hot as the Spanish resort of Alicante.

The Swiss meteorological office pointed out that it was also unusually dry, with not even half the usual amount of rain having fallen so far this year.

As a result, many forests are very dry and the Federal Environment Office called on people to be careful when sparking up barbecues or other outdoor fires. Some cantons have banned such fires.

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