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Warnings and measures Switzerland continues to swelter under heatwave

Dry riverbed of the Töss, canton Zurich

Heatwave effects: the dry riverbed of the river Töss, canton Zurich, as seen on July 26

(Keystone)

The national weather service MeteoSwiss has issued a heat warning for the Italian-speaking region of Ticino, as the country continues to suffer the effects of one of the warmest Julys on record.

Temperatures are expected to rise to up to 33 degrees Celsius on Saturday in the region, which has been givenexternal link a level 3 warningexternal link “significant danger” – meaning risks of circulatory complaints and physical discomfort. Air humidity is expected to reach almost 50%.

The rest of Switzerland will also experience high temperatures until August 2, the day after Switzerland’s National Day celebrations, the services predicts, but no warning has been issued as the air is drier in these areas, MeteoSwiss said.

Records neared

Some weather stations, such as Geneva, Lugano and Basel, have recorded the fifth hottest July since measurements began, Olivier Codeluppi from MeteoSwiss told the Swiss news agency SDA-ATS. In the town of Sion it was the second warmest July.

Thursday saw the hottest day of the year in many parts of Switzerland, according to the weather service Meteonews. Sion recorded 34.7 degrees. It was over 32 degrees at Zurich airport, in the capital Bern and in Geneva and Lausanne.

Grono in the southern canton of Graubünden recorded over 33 degrees – but did not break its record as the place with the highest ever recorded temperature: 41.5 degrees on August 11, 2003.

Measures

Water levels in many rivers and lakes are dropping as a result of the heat, according to the Federal Office for the Environment. There are also risks to fish, such as graylings, in the river Rhine. When water temperatures rise, there is less oxygen in the water for the fish. The first dead fish have already been found, Swiss public television SRF saysexternal link.

Some places have recommended water rationing measures or have switched off public fountains, such as in Bergdietikon in the canton of Aargau.

A further seven cantons have announced that fires are banned in and around forests, with cantons saying the risk is high as no rain is expected.

The dry conditions have brought restrictions in many cantons on the use of fireworks for Swiss National Day on August 1, and have forced a slowdown in the activity of the Mühleberg nuclear plant. 

SDA-ATS/MeteoSwiss/SRF/ilj

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