Parts of Switzerland on flood alert, more rain ahead

Flood protection in the capital Bern, as seen on Sunday, July 11, parliament building in the background Keystone / Peter Klaunzer

Areas of the Swiss capital Bern and some Alpine region lakes are still on alert for possible flooding after Switzerland after more heavy rainfall. More rain is expected during the coming week.

This content was published on July 11, 2021

Central Switzerland was also hit by strong storms late Saturday evening, leading to the evacuation of 30 homes and two youth camps and flooding temporarily cutting off the resort of Engelberg.

The Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) has kept the flood danger level as three (considerable danger) for several lakes in the Alpine region: Lakes Thun, Brienz and Lucerne. Also added in on Sunday was Lake Zurich. This Tweet gives a few impressions of the situation around Lake Zurich.

"These lakes are full to the brim. However, the sluices are open so that as much water as possible can flow out. Accordingly, the water levels of the rivers are currently very high," said Swiss public television SRF meteorologist Daniela Schmuki on Sunday.External link

The city of Bern's protection and rescue services have been preparing for the risk of flooding. The situation remained precarious on Sunday due to the overnight rainfall. 

Schmuki said that the weather would worsen during Monday night and into Tuesday, with storms, heavy rain and possibly hail. More rain is expected during the rest of the week.

“The flood danger but also the danger of landslides and debris flows will therefore intensify next week,” the weather expert said.

Heavy rainfall

This latest bad weather prognosis comes after extremely heavy rainfall from last Wednesday to Friday in Switzerland with 2.7 trillion litres of water falling*, according to the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology (MeteoSwiss). Some parts of Switzerland, like Italian-speaking Ticino or areas of the southeastern canton of Graubünden, recorded 120-200 millimetres of precipitation during this time, the MeteoSwiss said on in a blogExternal link on Friday. Below is river affected in Ticino.

Some parts of Switzerland, like Italian-speaking Ticino or areas of the southeastern canton of Graubünden, recorded 120-200 millimetres of precipitation during this time. Below is river affected in Ticino.

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Here is torrential rain, also in Ticino.

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The north side of the Alps saw between 80-120 mm in rainfall.

A special summer

Summer in Switzerland, like other parts of Europe, has got off to a shaky start. June saw torrential rain, storms and even hail the size of golf ballsExternal link in some parts of the country.  MeteoSwiss has also warned that there is more rainfall ahead from Tuesday.

Overall, despite the rainy weather, Switzerland has actually experienced the fourth warmest June since measurements began in 1864, added MeteoSwissExternal link.

*An earlier version of this story stated that 27.2 trillion litres of rainwater fell in Switzerland, the equivalent of filling 2.5 lakes. This was based on information published in a Tweet by MeteoSwiss. MeteoSwiss has since issued a correctionExternal link this statistic (Saturday afternoon) to 2.7 trillion litres of water and we have amended the story accordingly.

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