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Sweltering heat Temperatures climb to record levels

shore of Lake Lauerz in central Switzerland

The water levels of many small rivers and lakes have  dropped dramatically over the past few weeks.

(Keystone)

The current heatwave has pushed daytime temperatures up to record levels in Switzerland this summer.

The town of Sion in southwestern Switzerland registered 36.2°C (97.2°Fahrenheit) on Sunday, according to the local weather station.

The record for Sion is 37.8°C. And in 2003, temperatures rose to 41.5°C in southeastern Switzerland and 39.7°C in Geneva in 2015.

Meteonews expects afternoon temperatures above 35°C and at least 20°C at night in lower-lying regions until Wednesday. The heatwave is expected to abate by next weekend, giving way to more usual summer temperatures of around 25°C.

The dry and hot weather spell has reduced small rivers and creeks to rivulets. In some regions, rangers have begun to resettle the local fish population to ensure its survival.

The heat wave pushed the water temperature in parts of the Rhine river above 27 degrees Celsius (80.6 degrees Fahrenheit), killing thousands of fish and forcing trout and grayling to try to find cooler waters.

Fishery authorities in three cantons along the river said that despite measures to add cool water, about one tonne of dead fish had so far been collected; the equivalent of about a quarter to a third of the annual catch volume.

Last week the army flew emergency water supplies to cattle farmers in the Alps.

Switzerland’s main farmers group has also called for government help, notably reducing taxes on hay imports as many farmers have been forced to use their winter stock of silage due to the dry pastures.

swissinfo.ch with SDA-ATS; ug

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