Which parts of Switzerland will have a White Christmas in 2023?
With Christmas Day looming ever closer, forecasters in Switzerland can now say, with relative certainty, whether the children of the alpine nation will wake up to both presents and snow this year. Sadly, the prospect of a White Christmas in 2023 isn’t looking great for most.
Swiss cities will not get a White Christmas in 2023
According to MeteoNews, people across most Swiss cities and cantons will be waking up to an ocean of brownish green this Christmas instead of a sea of white. “A relatively mild and especially humid and windy situation will set in before and during Christmas, which excludes any option of snow in the plains,” the forecaster lamented.
After what is expected to be a turbulent few days, with flooding and snow warnings issued across the country, the snow line is expected to rise to between 1.000 and 1.300 metres above sea level. This means that while places above this altitude will have an abundance of snow - like in ski resorts and other areas of the mountains - all major Swiss cities will be too warm to get a dusting for the holidays.
Instead, places like Zurich, Geneva, Bern and Lausanne will see temperatures of between 9 and 12 degrees celsius at Christmas. It will even reach 15 degrees in Lugano on December 24 and remain sunny for most of the week, perfect for watching the Ursids meteor shower. North of the Alps, the weather will remain cloudy, with patchy sunshine expected on December 25.
White Christmases becoming an increasing rarity in Switzerland
Sadly, MeteoNews noted that a White Christmas - defined as there being least one centimetre of snow on the ground at 7am on December 24, 25 and 26 - is becoming an increasing rarity in Swiss cities. Indeed, the last White Christmas in Zurich was in 2003. The phenomenon has also become a once-in-a-blue-moon event for Bern (2008), Lucerne (2010) and St. Gallen (2017), while Basel and Geneva haven’t seen snow at Christmastime since 1986!
When asked whether the increasing rarity of White Christmases was due to climate change, MeteoNews produced a very diplomatic, and therefore very Swiss, answer: while it is "not possible to determine whether the low frequency of white Christmases in recent years is due to chance or global warming… we can assume that white Christmases in the plains will become increasingly rare if average temperatures continue to increase.”