Too hot and too sunny: Switzerland says goodbye to winter
Last winter was too dry in Canton Ticino, too stormy in Swiss cities and generally too warm, according to meteorologists. The weather in Switzerland was between two and three degrees warmer than average for the time of year, with large storms causing damage across the country.
Mild temperatures across Switzerland this winter
The winter of 2021 / 2022 was characterised by especially mild temperatures in Switzerland. The country only recorded between 10 and 20 “frost days” - days where the temperature in the Mittelland dropped below freezing - with weather services across the country recording double-digit temperatures at times. In the mountains, Poschiavo railway station recorded a high of 19,2 degrees Celsius, a record for January.
On the northern side of the Alps, the 20-degree mark was reached in several areas as the winter went on. Temperatures varied in January and February due to polar vortexes and a strong jet stream, which led to wildly different temperatures, but overall, the Mittelland saw one of the mildest winters ever recorded.
The high pressure and warm temperatures also meant that the country received far more sunlight than in normal winter periods. Bern saw twice the amount of sunshine this winter than normal, with Canton Ticino receiving the most sunlight overall.
High temperatures and no rain causes drought in Ticino
As well as warm temperatures in the north of the country, MeteoNews reported that the southernmost canton, Ticino, saw only a quarter of the amount of rainfall expected for December. In January, things got worse, with only 9,1 millimetres of rain recorded, 86 percent less than normal.
This has resulted in a high risk of forest fires and drought in the region, with the largest forest fire taking place in Canton Ticino along the banks of Lake Maggiore in February. The whole region only saw 45 litres of rain during the whole winter, 160 litres less than normal.
Most noticeable for residents of Switzerland were the large number of storms in recent weeks, with Storm Xandra, Ylenia, Zeynep and Antonia hitting the Alpine nation in the second half of February. Wind gusts of up to 179 kilometres an hour were recorded in the Swiss mountains, as storm surges rolled across Europe.
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