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Second wave of fierce gales batters Switzerland

Another wave of fierce gales hit western Switzerland and the country’s low-lying midland region on Tuesday, tearing off roofs, knocking out electricity and disrupting traffic.

Another wave of fierce gales hit western Switzerland and the country’s low-lying midland region on Tuesday, tearing off roofs, knocking out electricity and disrupting traffic.

The weather system, carrying top wind speeds of 100 kmh (62 mph), swept across the Lake Geneva region and then moved towards the capital Berne.

The winds again tore down scaffolding, uprooted trees, snapped electricity pylons and blocked roads in French-speaking canton Vaud. The storm also caused extensive damage to Lausanne’s marina, where at least two boats were sunk by heavy waves.

Road and rail traffic were disrupted by the high winds and heavy snowfall, with rail passengers facing major delays and car drivers being stuck in long tailbacks.

The severe weather conditions are hampering clean-up and reconstruction work made necessary after hurricane-force winds wreaked havoc in many parts of Switzerland over the weekend.

Thirteen people were killed by the storms, which also caused tens of millions of Swiss francs in damage to housing, agriculture and infrastructure. Officials described the Christmas weekend winds as the “storm of the century.”

Many people were still without power on Tuesday, including the Bernese Oberland resorts of Adelboden and Lenk, where electricity has been down since Sunday.

In some parts of the country, the army moved in and set up emergency electricity generators.

From staff and wire reports.


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