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Heavy rain creates chaos

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Torrential rainfall across Switzerland is causing havoc on roads, creating mudslides, paralysing rail networks and flooding cellars.

This content was published on April 10, 2006 - 15:10

The west of the country has been particularly hard hit, with areas near Lake Geneva reporting more than 70 litres of rain per square metre falling between Sunday and Monday morning.

Canton Ticino reported up to 105 l/m2.

During the flooding last August, more than 100 l/m2 fell during 48 hours north of the Alps.

The hydrology department of the environment agency said the water levels of various rivers in central and western Switzerland were expected only every five to ten years.

Two train lines (between Lausanne and Payerne and the latter and Fribourg) in the French-speaking part of the country have been at a standstill for most of Monday – the first was shut down by a mudslide, the second by a tree landing on the tracks.

The Swiss Federal Railways said the clean-up operation would not be completed before Tuesday morning.

The rising level of the River Rhine meant that freight operations were put on hold in Basel.

Centre-field

The country also experienced some snowfall. The capital Bern saw 56 l/m2 of rain falling over a 24-hour period. High water levels led the authorities to issue flood warnings for Lake Biel and the Nidau-Büren Canal.

More than 15 main roads, including those between Bern and Lenzburg, Basel and Olten and Lyss and Murten, were affected by flooding.

Experts are not forecasting an improvement in the weather before Tuesday.

Last year's flooding catastrophe in August left six people dead and caused damage costing up to an estimated SFr2 billion ($1.6 billion). Central Switzerland and canton Bern were the worst affected areas.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

Two days of torrential rainfall has led to flood warnings across the country.

While not in the same league as the rainfall which devastated parts of Switzerland in August last year, roads and some rail tracks have been closed.

Some parts of the country are also having to contend with snowfall, including the capital Bern.

Meteorologists predict that the weather will turn on Tuesday, with dry spells ahead.

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