The so-called ‘Beast from the East’ weather front has hit Switzerland and temperatures dropped to as low as -28.9 degrees Celsius (-20 degrees Fahrenheit) in canton Graubünden in the early hours of Monday, the coldest morning of the Swiss winter so far.
Meteorological spring begins in three days, but the Swiss could have been forgiven for thinking that has been postponed when they woke up this morning. Thanks to a Siberian cold front, the temperature recorded at the ‘Top of Europe’, the Jungfraujoch saddle near Bern, was -26.9°C; at the summit of the Säntis in canton St Gallen it was -22.5°C.
In the lower-lying regions of the country, it was significantly less cold, but temperatures still dropped below the -10°C mark, with -12.2C and -10.3°C recorded in the cities of St Gallen and Zurich respectively.
Maximum temperatures at 2,000 metres will not climb above a frosty -18°C on Monday and even in lower regions of the country daytime temperatures have not reached much more than -5°C.
The cold temperatures in the lowlands were exacerbated by an arctic breeze, which meant that temperatures felt closer to -15°C.
Unusual weather situation
The cold weather is expected to continue until Friday. After a day of snowfall on Thursday, milder temperatures will arrive at the end of the week. According to the federal weather office MeteoSwiss, this kind of weather pattern is rare, but not exceptional, resembling a similar situation in winter 2005.