Swiss cities and cantons brace for major heatwave

Swiss cities and cantons brace for major heatwave

Local authorities have warned that Switzerland faces a major heatwave over the next week. The so-called “heat dome” is set to bring extreme temperatures to all parts of the alpine nation, with some cantons now activating their heatwave plans to protect the most vulnerable. 

Switzerland under a heat dome for the next week

From August 18, Switzerland will be under a so-called “heat dome” of high pressure which will remain in place for the next week, according to the latest forecast from MeteoSwiss. The heatwave will affect most of Europe, but “Switzerland will be particularly hard hit”, experts wrote.

In Swiss cities like Bern, Basel, Zurich and many others, the mercury will rise above 32 degrees celsius during the day between August 18 and 23. MeteoSwiss also predicted “extreme temperatures” for in and around Lake Geneva and Valais, with temperatures rising to 37 degrees. Those seeking cool in the mountains are sadly out of luck, with temperatures in ski resorts also reaching 30 degrees.

Hot air and sunny skies will lead to tropical conditions

“The sky will often be clear and cloudless, further contributing to the warming of the air," MeteoSwiss explained. “At the same time, subtropical warm air from the Sahara, brought in from Spain and France" will add to the already Mediterranean-like conditions. 

As a result, the government has issued a Danger Three heatwave warning for all of Switzerland, with the exception of some areas of the mountains. Residents of all cantons have been advised to protect themselves from direct sunlight, avoid vigorous physical activity, drink plenty of water and keep their homes and bodies as cool as possible. To stay updated on the heatwave warnings, visit the Swiss Natural Hazards portal.

The cantons of Geneva and Vaud have also activated their heatwave plans to protect the most vulnerable. Among other policies, those over 75 years old in Geneva will be given free access to local swimming pools and air-conditioned cinemas.

Swiss heatwave to last until mid-next week

MeteoSwiss concluded that those seeking relief from the high temperatures will be waiting a while. While the peak of the heat is expected on the weekend and the middle of next week, forecasters predict that the heatwave will only break on August 23 at the earliest.

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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