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Is spring already springing up in Switzerland?

It may still be chilly in most Swiss regions, but warmer weather is coming our way.

Is spring already springing up in Switzerland?
Warmer weather is only days away, meteorologists say. Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels

The spring doesn’t officially start for more than a month — on March 20th — but weather forecast calls for 18 degrees by Friday in several parts of the country.

While it will be cloudy on Tuesday and Wednesday, especially in northern Switzerland, and precipitation is expected along the Alps, the weather should shift on Thursday, with temperatures reaching 6 to 8 degrees across Switzerland.

Dryer air and sunshine are then expected on Friday, when temperatures will rise to 18 degrees, especially in north-western Switzerland, according to the Federal Office of Meteorology, MeteoSwiss.

In fact, based on its longer-term forecast, MeteoSwiss predicts, with a probability of 60 percent, that this year’s spring season, specifically the period between March and May, will be “above average” in terms of warmth.

Seasonal forecasts are established each month for the following three months for north-eastern, western, and southern Switzerland.

But don’t pack away your coats and wellies just yet.

That’s because the accuracy of long-term forecasts remains limited, as “they are inherently subject to great uncertainty, even though significant progress has been made in recent years, thanks to high-performance computers and model simulations”, according to MeteoSwiss.  

But while unseasonably warm weather might be enjoyable for us humans, it is not necessarily a good thing for the eco-system, as higher-than-normal temperatures disrupt the natural cycle of plants and animals.

EXPLAINED: Why warm winters are especially bad for Switzerland

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Rain and gale-force winds: Storms continue to whip Switzerland

After a relatively calm weekend in many parts of the country, the storm ‘Antonia’ hit Switzerland on Sunday and will continue into Monday night at least.

Rain and gale-force winds: Storms continue to whip Switzerland

Antonia depression swept through Switzerland overnight, bringing rain and strong gusts of wind, measured at nearly 100 kilometres per hour over a large part of the country, including Zurich.

In some regions, like Chasseral in canton Bern, winds were even stronger: a gust of 164 km/h was measured on Monday morning, and the gusts reached a peak of 147 km / h at Säntis, Appenzell Innerrhoden.

The degree of danger is 3 out of 5, which corresponds to a “marked risk” — that is, “weather events with an intensity at the limit of the norm for the season”, according to the Natural Hazards Portal.

This colour coded map shows the degree of dangers in Switzerland: yellow means moderate danger, orange considerable danger, and red high danger.

Image by Natural Hazards Portal

This is what you should be aware of

Natural Hazards Portal is warning the population to stay away from the shores of lakes, groups of trees exposed to the wind forest roads and tree-lined paths, as well as other areas exposed to the wind.

While the intensity of rain and winds is expected to subside by the evening, some dangers may remain over the next few days.

Between 30 to 60 centimetres of fresh snow is forecast over much of the mountains between Monday and Tuesday morning. In some parts of the Alps, the snowline is dropping from the altitude of 1,200 to about 700 metres.

While this is good news for skiers, dangers abound as well.

Stormy winds are causing increasingly large snowdrift accumulations, which can come off  easily, causing avalanches, according to the Institute for the Study of Snow. The avalanche danger is particularly high in Valais.