Switzerland issues more flood warnings after heavy thunderstorms

According to SRF, 45.8 mm of rain fell in the capital Bern over a 12-hour period. Keystone / Salvatore Di Nolfi

Switzerland has announced more flood warnings after high winds and heavy rain battered the country between Monday night and Tuesday morning. The storms caused sections of the A2 motorway to temporarily close on Tuesday.

This content was published on July 13, 2021 - 17:58

Rain, hail and winds of up to 135 kilometres per hour were recorded on Monday evening, Swiss public broadcaster SRF said on Tuesday.

From the Jura mountains in western Switzerland, the thunderstorms swept eastwards across the country, hitting Zurich especially hard. At the time of writing, thunderstorms were moving over canton Ticino in the south.

Since Monday evening, over 1,000 telephone calls were made to Zurich’s emergency services as storms and heavy hail caused considerable damage in the city, the cantonal police said.

The storms also caused delays and shutdowns to Zurich’s public transport system, with fallen trees and flooded streets halting tram and bus lines in the city, Reuters reported.

In Zurich, fallen trees and flooded streets halted public transport and blocked roads. Keystone / Ennio Leanza

In central Switzerland, canton Uri temporarily closed sections of the A2 motorway that runs through the heart of the country, from Germany in the north to its southern border with Italy.

According to SRF, 45.8 mm of rain fell in the capital Bern over a 12-hour period. But at the village of Waldegg just outside Zurich, 31.1 mm of rain were recorded in ten minutes, almost beating the record of 41.1 mm that fell in ten minutes on Lausanne in August 2018.

Flooding also affected Alpnach-Stad in Kanton Obwalden, central Switzerland. Keystone / Urs Flueeler

In the town of Thun, in the Bernese Oberland, wind speeds of up to 64km/h were registered by SRF, and fire services were called out more than any other time in the last 25 years, the NZZ said.

Following the storms, the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) issued “level four” (high danger) flood warnings for lakes Zurich, Thun and Lucerne (on a scale of 1-5). SRF predicts that further rain, flooding, especially around lakes and rivers, and landslides are likely in the next few days.

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