Freezing temperatures bring pleasure and misery

Skaters are getting the chance to profit from the recent cold temperatures as more and more lakes and ponds have frozen over and been declared safe by the authorities.

This content was published on February 10, 2012 minutes

The layer of ice in the harbour at Rapperswil on Lake Zurich is now 15 centimetres thick, and people will be able to walk out over it on Saturday for the first time in 24 years, although at their own risk.

But not everyone is so happy. About 20 boats have sunk on Lake Geneva under the weight of the ice that formed on them, the local police said. Another 50 were rescued from the same fate.

And ski lift operators have been warned that the unusual snow conditions could damage their equipment.

A circular issued by the Federal Transport Office on Friday said that although the snow cover was currently very thick, not all of it was adhering to the ground. As temperatures rise, large quantities of snow could slide and damage the pylons.

It advises operators to clear large amounts of snow from above the pylons if it can be done safely. If safety cannot be guaranteed in any other way, the lift should be closed.

On the night of Thursday to Friday burst pipes damaged Bern’s Alpine Museum and another building in Bern belonging to the Federal Railways. Classes at a school in Yverdon in canton Vaud had to be cancelled on Friday after a pipe burst in the attic, badly damaging part of the building.

Temperatures are expected to start rising again at the beginning of next week.

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