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Swiss still sweltering

Switzerland has continued to swelter in unusually hot weather, with temperatures of well over 30 degrees recorded in most of the country on Saturday.

A new record for the year of 34.8 degrees was set in Basel, the Swiss Metrological Office said.

The office has issued a warning of forest fires in the southern canton of Valais, where there has been a persistent drought.

The Health Office is reminding people to drink enough, especially water, and to keep their houses cool. It says particular vigilance is needed in the case of the elderly, small children and the sick.

Ozone concentrations have also shot up all over Switzerland. In Lugano on Friday levels were more than twice the permitted level at 257 microgrammes per cubic metre.

With school over in most cantons in Switzerland, and the start of school holidays in the Netherlands and large parts of Germany, the roads south are heavily congested. On Saturday drivers wanting to use the Gotthard road tunnel had to wait for up to about 90 minutes under the gruelling sun.

Not only people are suffering in the heat wave. The Ornithological Institute at Sempach says young swifts, stifling in temperatures that can reach 50 degrees under the roofs where the birds nest, are jumping out before they can fly properly.

The institute is looking after a number of such chicks that have been brought in to it; it says their prognosis is good, since at about 40 days they can in any case survive without their parents.

The hot weather has continued for about two weeks so far; the meteorological office expects thunderstorms in the next few days, but only a slight drop in temperature.

siwssinfo.ch and agencies


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