Switzerland faces heatwave: how to cope (update)

Update Saturday 4 July 05:00

GENEVA – Get ready to sizzle. Switzerland and most of Europe will burn hot with above-normal temperatures for the next two weeks, has warned the Swiss meteorological office.

Update: MeteoSwiss has extended the heat advisory to two thirds of the country and issued a national alert until at least Tuesday 8 July, for all regions below 600m in altitude.

Swiss heat wave forecast

Heat is easier to bear when relative humidity is low; the MeteoSwiss heatwave warning is based on a “Heat Index” which includes temperature and relative humidity of the air.

Danger of Degree 4 is when the Heat Index > 93, lasts for at least 5 days and temperatures exceed the thresholds for at least 5 consecutive days.

Map Swiss heat wave forecast
Dangerous conditions are represented in red. This is how the country will look like until at least Tuesday 8 July, said MeteoSwiss, who provided this illustration.

This is by far, one of the worst heat waves in recent memory, said MeteoSwiss on Friday:

Switzerland is currently experiencing one of the strongest heatwaves since we started measuring temperatures 150 years ago.

Temperatures are expected to reach 37C north of the Alps and at least 33C south of the Alps.

The worst heatwave “in the century” occurred in 2003, that year Geneva registered an average of 35C for two consecutive weeks and 36.7C for five consecutive days. We are now just below that average.

Record temperatures in Switzerland
Current temperatures have surpassed the 2013 heatwave and about to equal those measured in 2003, the hottest year in record. Graphic, MeteoSwiss.

June was the fourth hottest in record since 1864.

Geneva, Basel and Sion will continue to experience the hottest temperatures in the country warned the Swiss meteorological department.

This heat radar map provided by MeteoSwiss indicates (in violet) the hottest spots in western Switzerland, namely: Geneva, Basel and Sion.
This heat radar map provided by MeteoSwiss indicates (in violet) the hottest spots in western Switzerland, namely: Geneva, Basel and Sion.

How to cope – recommendations by MeteoSwiss:

Intense heat in Geneva1

  • Avoid direct exposure to the sun from 11:00 to 15:00; then, be careful until 18:00. The heat index is stronger from 15:00 to 18:00.
  • Exercise early in the morning or after 18:00.
  • Stay in the shade whenever possible.
  • Avoid alcoholic drinks and consume between 1,5-2L of water per day even if you are not thirsty.
  • Eat water-rich fruits and vegetables, eat light and cold whenever possible.
  • Use solar cream, sun glasses, hats, umbrellas… avoid the sun.
  • Wear light-colored clothing.
  • Take cold showers / bathe in cold water.
  • Pay close attention to the elderly, children and pets.

Recognizing the symptoms of a heat stroke

  • High body temperature
  • Rapid pulse
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dry Mouth
  • Confusion, dizziness, disorientation
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea

If someone presents several of these symptoms, make the person lay down and cool  off. If conscious, make the person drink cool water.

“If these measures prove ineffective, seek medical assistance at once,” warns the Swiss public health information system.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Myrna Matheus says:

    We just have to be careful not to expose to too much sunlight!


    1. True True Myrna!


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