What are the chances of a white Christmas in Swiss cities this year?

What are the chances of a white Christmas in Swiss cities this year?

It’s the hope of the child in all of us to see the snow start to fall on Christmas Day. Now, an expert from MeteoNews has made his prediction as to whether Switzerland and its cities will get a white Christmas this year or have to keep on dreaming. Here’s what he had to say:

Switzerland blanketed in snow over the last week

In the last week, people across Swiss cities and cantons have been treated to frigid temperatures and heavy snowfall. While Swiss public transport, airports and roads have not been as badly affected as neighbouring Germany - bar a few delayed and cancelled flights at Zurich Airport - low altitude areas of the country like Zurich have seen 26 centimetres of snowfall and temperatures of minus 12,9 degrees celsius. 

The bumper crop of snow has also been a boon for ski resorts, with thousands reported to have hit the slopes in recent days. With the Advent season starting with a blanket of snow, hopes have now turned to whether the weather in Switzerland will offer a dusting of snow to make Christmas Day all the more special.

Will Swiss cities get snow on Christmas Day?

Speaking to Blick, MeteoNews’ Roger Perret said that while there is still hope for snow on Christmas Day in Switzerland, it will not be a certainty. “From tomorrow there will be a continuous thaw, that is, maximum temperatures above zero degrees. From around Sunday, it will probably be quite mild again…The snow is starting to become rare. The start of next week should be largely snow-free on the lowlands, and it will probably rain often,” he forecast.

He explained that the weather is extremely changeable at the moment, which means it remains a challenge to give a concrete “yes” or “no” to snow on or around Christmas Day. While it is fairly certain that ski resorts and areas of the mountains will have a white Christmas, the jury will be out on Swiss cities until much closer to the day. “Just because it snowed at the beginning of December doesn’t mean it won’t snow at Christmas,” Perret assured.

White Christmases are unlikely but not impossible, says expert

However, the meteorologist explained that a white Christmas has become increasingly rare in the lowlands of Switzerland in recent years. Indeed, the last full white Christmas - defined as when Christmas Eve, Day and Boxing Day are all snowy - in Zurich was in 2003. It has also been quite a while in Bern (2008), Lucerne (2010), and St. Gallen (2017), while Basel and Geneva haven’t had a full white Christmas since 1986!

“Winters are getting milder and there is less and less snow. Global warming is pushing the snowfall limit upwards, so many regions in the lowlands remain snowless in the same weather situation, where there was snow before,” Perret explained. However, in a nugget of hope for snow-lovers, he concluded that “a white Christmas is unlikely, but not impossible.”

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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