Switzerland says goodbye to summer as cold temperatures roll in

Switzerland says goodbye to summer as cold temperatures roll in

Temperatures in and around Switzerland are set to decline to below 20 degrees for the next few weeks, as summer appears to be coming to a close.

1.900 lightning strikes detected in Canton Zurich 

On Saturday and Sunday, after scorching 30 degree days in the majority of Switzerland, sunbathers and swimmers got a rude shock as the weather broke dramatically. Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon saw heavy rainfall and thunderstorms, with 1.900 lightning strikes detected in Canton Zurich alone. The weather forecast now indicates that cold, wet and windy weather is set to continue for the next two weeks.

According to MeteoSwiss, the cycle of summer weather in areas north of the Alps usually involve long, dry, hot spells, followed by intense rain and thunderstorms for a day or two, before heating up once more. What is different this year is that cooler spells are lasting more than two weeks at a time, leading to excessive rainfall and flooding, wreaking havoc on crops and family plans for the end of the school holidays.

This cycle is predicted to continue, with only this Thursday seeing temperatures above 21 degrees Celsius. Rain is also expected over the weekend, the heaviest being forecast for central and eastern Switzerland.

Swiss tourism also saw a decline due to poor weather

The recent storms are also affecting the tourism industry, with Switzerland Tourism reporting that alongside the pandemic, “The exceptionally wet and cold summer weather [has] also strongly affected guest movements.” They found that two-thirds of hoteliers had lost bookings and received more cancellations due to the disappointing weather.

The poor season is impacting alpine resorts the most, with Guido Buob, director of Appenzellerland Tourism, noting, “For trips, but also for mountain tourism and stays in mountain guest houses, the weather was a bigger factor this year than the pandemic.” He says that visits to tourism hotspots in Switzerland, such as mountains, lakes and historical sites are greatly affected by the weather.

Is the summer season over in Switzerland?

The recent bad weather has capped off a poor summer for Switzerland, as temperatures above thirty degrees were rare, even during midsummer. In July, the excessive rainfall also led to river levels increasing, to the point that parts of Lucerne, Zurich, Zug and Bern were flooded. Temperatures fluctuated constantly, making it difficult for expats, tourists and locals to plan day trips or events.

While the forecast for the coming weeks is calmer than usual, it isn’t as hot as previously anticipated. With midsummer gone, it is clear that the hottest of the summer may be behind us. However, if you do want a bit of sun, MeteoSwiss suggests you make the trip south of the Alps, as Ticino and Valais will see high temperatures of 26 degrees and a low chance of rain.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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