Weather warning: Swathe of Switzerland faces heavy snow and gales

Although winter doesn't officially start until December 21st, strong winds, snow, and low temperatures are already hitting parts of Switzerland.

Weather warning: Swathe of Switzerland faces heavy snow and gales
Snow will blanket parts of Switzerland in coming days. Photo by AFP

A low pressure system that has formed in the Mediterranean is directing a large mass of humid, cool air towards Switzerland Friday and over the weekend, the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology (MeteoSwiss) warned. 

Strong winds are blowing in Alpine valleys and in the mountains, with gusts of up to 120 kilometres per hour.


The snowline is expected at between 500 and 800m above sea level, but it could drop lower in some regions.

The snowfall between 30 and 40 cm could could blanket the Jura and the Western Alps above 1000 metres.

South of the Alps, up to 80 cm are expected from 600 meters by Sunday.

These forecasts prompted the meteorological agency to issue a 3/5 degree danger warning for much of French-speaking Switzerland and a 4/5 degree warning for Ticino and parts of Graubünden.

The hazard categories are numbered 1 to 5, with 5 being the most severe one.

 This map shows which regions will be most affected by bad weather this weekend, with 4 rated as heaviest-hit. Chart by MeteoSwiss.

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Winter weather to continue in Switzerland this week

Despite the sunshine of late March, winter has made a comeback in Switzerland. Here’s is what’s ahead this week.

Winter weather to continue in Switzerland this week

Swiss residents going through the latter stages of March, with its sunny skies and ‘Sahara dust’ would have been forgiven for thinking the time was right to put the winter jacket away. 

However, winter-like weather is back in Switzerland, having swept across the country as March turned into April. 

Around 50cm of snow fell on parts of Switzerland over the past few days, bringing with it unseasonably cold temperatures to wipe out the springlike weather of late March.

READ MORE: Everything that changes in Switzerland in April 2022

Swiss meteorological service MeteoNews reported that the snowfall brought welcome relief, particularly in central and lower Valais, in parts of Ticino and in most of Graubünden, cutting the risks of forest fires. 

This week temperatures are expected to rise but only slightly, with MeteoNews forecasting between 7 and 10 degrees and rain through Tuesday.

Wednesday should be sunny and about 13 degrees, followed by changeable and windy weather in the second half of the week.

After that, temperatures should continue to increase, with 20 degrees forecast for much of the country from mid-April onwards. 

It is too early to forecast with certainty what the weather will be like over Easter, but we will keep you posted!

You can follow the forecast for your area here.