Heavy summer storms caused widespread damage and flooding Tuesday in Germany and across Switzerland.
Rain, hail and winds of up to 135kmh were recorded on Monday evening. From the Jura mountains in western Switzerland, the thunderstorms swept eastwards across the country, hitting Zurich especially hard.
Since Monday evening, over 1,000 telephone calls were made to Zurich’s emergency services as storms and heavy hail caused considerable damage in the city.
Trees were blown onto roads and rail tracks in Zurich, causing travel chaos for commuters, while authorities warned that several rivers in Switzerland could burst their banks.
The storms also delayed and shutdown Zurich’s public transport system, with fallen trees and flooded streets halting tram and bus lines in the city.
Some Alpine passes were temporarily closed due to heavy snowfall.
In central Switzerland, canton Uri temporarily closed sections of the A2 motorway that runs through the heart of the country, from Germany in the north to its southern border with Italy.
About 45.8 mm of rain fell in the capital Bern over a 12-hour period. But at the village of Waldegg just outside Zurich, 31.1 mm of rain were recorded in ten minutes, almost beating the record of 41.1 mm that fell in ten minutes on Lausanne in August 2018.
In the town of Thun, in the Bernese Oberland, wind speeds of up to 64km/h were registered by SRF, and fire services were called out more than any other time in the last 25 years.
An airport hangar partially collapsed amid heavy rain and strong winds overnight in the southern town of Magadino, Switzerland resulting in several planes damaged.
Following the storms, the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) issued “level four” (high danger) flood warnings for lakes Zurich, Thun and Lucerne (on a scale of 1-5). More rain and flooding, especially around lakes and rivers, and landslides are likely in the next few days.
In neighboring Germany officials warned of “extreme storms” on Tuesday in the Eifel region southwest of Cologne due to particularly heavy rainfall.
Persistent rain in recent days has swelled rivers and the Rhine is predicted to hit the first high-water mark on Thursday or Friday, triggering restrictions to shipping.
The wet weather has been welcomed by some forestry officials in Germany after three particularly dry summers in a row.
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