Weather warnings issued as heavy rain grips Switzerland

Weather warnings issued as heavy rain grips Switzerland

With heavy rain dominating the weather over the last week, a level three “considerable danger” warning has now been issued for rainfall in much of eastern and central Switzerland. Several Swiss cantons are expected to see localised flooding on Friday and Saturday.

Heavy rainfall warnings issued for eastern Switzerland

Following heavy rainfall on Wednesday through Friday, the Swiss government has issued a level three danger warning for rain in Appenzell, Liechtenstein, St. Gallen, and parts of Glarus, Schwyz, Zug, and Graubünden - the heaviest rain is expected in the Obertoggenburg region of St. Gallen. Authorities have warned of rising water levels in the region’s lakes and rivers, and the possible flooding of underground garages and cellars.

Residents are encouraged to avoid the banks of rivers and lakes, keep away from steep slopes and heed instructions issued by the emergency services. They are also advised to keep out of cellars, basements and underpasses and avoid watercourses in the mountains “at all costs” as these are the most likely to produce a mudslide without warning. The considerable danger warning is set to lift at 11am on June 1.

Residents affected told to avoid Swiss lakes and rivers

Level two "moderate danger" warnings have also been issued for Thurgau, central and southern Canton Zurich and parts of central and eastern Switzerland. Here too, river banks, steep slopes and streams in the mountains should be avoided. These warnings are expected to conclude between the early hours of Saturday morning and 11am. 

Avalanche warnings are also in place in most parts of the Alps, with MeteoNews writing that 50 centimetres of snow is forecast to lay above 2.000 metres by Saturday morning. Those in affected areas are encouraged to seek regular updates from the Swiss Natural Hazards Portal.

Rainfall causes disruption to rail services in Vaud

While the rest of the country has no weather warnings in place (at the time of writing), the near-constant rainfall of recent days and ensuing flooding has now caused major disruption to public transport. Swiss Federal Railways confirmed in the early hours of May 31 that the line between Yverdon-les-Bains, Lausanne and Morges has been partially flooded.

As a result, InterCity 5 trains (Geneva - Morges - Yverdon - Neuchâtel - Biel / Bienne - Solothurn - Olten - Zurich - St.Gallen) will halt at Yverdon or Morges. Travellers between Yverdon and Lausanne and Yverdon and Morges should use replacement bus services offered at the station, while travellers between Geneva, Lausanne and Biel / Bienne should instead travel via Bern. The disruption is expected to end by 2pm on May 31.

Better weather on the horizon for Switzerland

In all MeteoNews forecast heavy rainfall across Switzerland for the majority of the weekend, with the heaviest of the rain expected between 10am on May 31 to 8am on June 1. Temperatures are expected to hover between eight and 18 degrees celsius.

The last week has topped off what has been a wet and warm spring for Switzerland, with SRF Meteo noting that the weather between March and the end of May has been significantly wetter, less sunny but warmer than the 10-year average.

However, there is a glimmer of hope for those wishing summer to arrive. Meteorologist Michael Eichmann from MeteoNews told Blick that while the rain will persist until Monday, "From next week onwards, we will increasingly see sunshine and high temperatures. 25 degrees are expected, even more in Ticino."

Thumb image credit: sarawootp /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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