Swiss heatwave 2015: New danger alert

Updated 21 July: Heat alert raised to level 4 in Ticino until 21 July. Forest fire danger index is also high. Other European nations also under heat alert.

Swiss glaciers melting three times as fast this summer

GENEVA, Switzerland – Most Swiss residents have lived through one of the hottest June’s on record, and according to the Swiss meteorological office, most possibly will also experience  one of the hottest July’s on record.

MeteoSwiss experts say the second half of July will be as hot as the first half of the month, with a new heatwave hitting Switzerland starting 16 July and lasting until at least 21 July. However, temperatures will remain above normal until at least 31 July with a thermal sensation of up to 40C.

High temperatures in central and southern Ticino, Lake Geneva and the Valais will range between 31-34C, with increasing humidity levels.

From Thursday, temperatures between 33-37C are expected north of the Alps and the Valais.

Minimum temperatures will stay above 20 degrees overnight with high humidity levels which will make the evenings feel “tropical.”

MeteoSwiss forecasts a level 3 alert for most of Switzerland and a level 4 alert for the Ticino for the next few days.
MeteoSwiss forecasts a level 3 alert for most of Switzerland and a level 4 alert for the Ticino for the next few days.

Switzerland already broke records the first week of July, experiencing some of the highest temperatures in 150 years.

Record temperatures in Switzerland
Record temperatures in Switzerland recorded by MeteoSwiss.

Outdoor music festival Paleo is also going to be “hot, hot, hot” with temperatures 6C more than previous editions.

There are now also top level red alerts and advisories for heat in southern and southeastern Europe.

Drought: forest fire dangers, glaciers melting faster

June and July have also been some of the driest months on record and very little rain is expected in upcoming days.

MeteoSwiss has recorded no rain over Geneva in the past two weeks; conversely, more than 74mm of rain fell over the canton in the same period last year.

Dry grass Geneva
Dry grass one of the conditions for possible forest fires.

Several cantons have warned of possible forest fires due to the lack of precipitation and have enacted a fire ban.

Heatwave conditions have also accelerated the melting rate of Swiss glaciers which is resulting in higher river levels.

During a normal summer glaciers melt an average of 10 cm; this year however, there have been 30 cm melted and summer is not yet over.

… Even though there it has not rained – apart from the precipitation that occurred on 7 July in the Alps – water levels on the Rhone river have risen considerably.

Rhone levels rising
A photo provided by MeteoSwiss shows the Rhone’s high water levels near Monthey, in the Valais.
Dog staying hydrated thanks to the many water fountains in Geneva.
Dog staying hydrated thanks to the many water fountains in Geneva.

According to specialists, a prolonged heatwave poses a health treat to those persons suffering of emphysema, asthma or long-term breathing problems.

It is also particularly hard on the elderly, infants and pets.

Stay in the shade!

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