Weather warnings issued as Switzerland faces heavy rainstorms

Weather warnings issued as Switzerland faces heavy rainstorms

Officials in Switzerland have issued a level four weather alert for parts of Canton Valais, Bern and Vaud, warning of a “high danger” of flooding and avalanches. The announcement comes as almost the entire country is set to experience heavy rainfall until midday on November 15.

Weather warnings issued across Switzerland

According to MeteoSwiss, up to 13 centimetres of rain is due to fall in Switzerland from November 13 to 15. The rain will be present across the country, with the exception of Ticino, and will continue unabated until at least mid-day on Wednesday.

As a result of the rain, the Federal Council has issued a level three “considerable danger” warning for rain and avalanches in the Jura Nord region of Canton Vaud and in parts of central and eastern Switzerland. Level four “high danger” warnings have been issued for most of Canton Vaials and parts of south and southeastern Vaud and Bern. The warnings are expected to remain in place until noon on November 15.

Swiss authorities raise risk of flooding, landslides and avalanches

The government warned that those in level four areas could see a significant rise in the water level of local rivers and lakes, leading to some flooding. There is also a heightened risk of avalanches high in the mountains and landslides on steeper slopes below the snowline. 

Residents are encouraged to avoid the water, lake shores and steep slopes, and to pay attention to any possible warnings issued locally by the Federal Office for the Environment. You can stay abreast of the situation by using the official natural hazards portal.

The high amount of rain is starting to have an impact on the rest of the country and public transport, with 20 Minuten reporting that an underpass at Pfäffikon SZ station flooded overnight on November 13. Authorities warned that disruption to services remains possible in affected areas, and drivers should take extra care on the roads.

On the morning of November 15, authorities in Geneva issued the most significant flood warning for areas around the Arve River, closing several bridges to traffic and public transport. Experts announced that 1.210 cubic metres of water was passing down the river every second at 4am on November 15 - the highest value recorded since 1904. The closed bridges have since reopened. 

Poor weather set to continue in Switzerland

According to MeteoSwiss, the rain will be followed by a front of cold air on Wednesday night, which should lead to the snow line falling to 1.300 metres above sea level. The country will be given a brief respite on Wednesday afternoon, when a lull in the rainfall is expected.

The organisation noted that there is “a lot of weather going on”, explaining that a large number of low-pressure weather systems from the Atlantic are hitting the alpine nation in quick succession. Therefore, they predicted that the poor weather is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

Thumb image credit: Michael Derrer Fuchs /

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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