Hurricane-strength winds recorded as Switzerland faces storm

Hurricane-strength winds recorded as Switzerland faces storm

After weeks of extremely mild conditions, the weather in Switzerland is set to change significantly over Friday and the weekend. Experts have forecast hurricane-strength winds for the Swiss mountains and issued weather warnings for parts of Ticino and Graubünden, with the rest of the country set to see damp and blustery conditions for the next few days.

Weirdly warm wind and rain storm hits Switzerland

It’s safe to say that the summer-like weather that has gripped Swiss cities and cantons in recent weeks is over, at least for now. On the morning of October 20, people across the country woke up to high winds, rain and strangely warm temperatures of between 15 and 21 degrees celsius.

The most extreme conditions were recorded in the mountains, with wind speeds in Gütsch, Canton Uri, reaching 192 kilometres per hour in the early hours of Friday morning. At lower altitudes, the speed record was held by Meiringen, Canton Bern - a comparatively pedestrian 96 km / h.

Foehn blamed for hurricane-force winds in Switzerland

Forecasters explained that the current conditions are caused by an extremely strong Foehn - a southerly wind that sends warm air from the Mediterranean up through the Alps - which is why temperatures remain unseasonably high. Thunderstorms and the strongest winds will remain ever-present in the mountains on Friday, with weaker winds and rainfall forecast across the rest of the country. 

The most intense rain is expected in Canton Ticino and Graubünden, with the government issuing a level four warning for rain and landslides in the towns on the border between the two cantons. Residents are recommended to avoid rivers and lakes and to look out for any local flood warnings. At the time of writing the alert is expected to end at midnight on October 20, but locals can stay updated on the situation in real-time using the Swiss Natural Hazards portal.

Storm to fizzle out from Saturday

Luckily, MeteoNews forecaster Klaus Marquardt told Blick that we “will reach the peak of the storm in the morning” of October 20, although the heavy rain will continue. Conditions will remain damp and windy on Saturday morning before gradually improving between Saturday afternoon and Monday. Don't get too comfortable though, as rain and wind are forecast across the country again from October 24.

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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