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Switzerland hammered by violent storms

Bad weather caused a crane to crash through a church roof in Gossau, canton St Gallen Keystone

Violent storms swept across northern and central areas of Switzerland early on Monday, with winds of up to 120 kilometres an hour. No casualties were reported.

In some areas, as much as 20 litres of rain per square metre fell in a single 15-minute period. The Swiss Broadcasting Corporation’s meteorological department said the hot weather over the weekend had created ideal conditions for storms.

The worst hit cities were Berne, Lucerne and Zurich, as well as parts of eastern Switzerland. Several rail lines in central and eastern Switzerland were blocked.

Police said damage was limited, and mainly confined to fallen trees blocking roads. No flooding was reported, but a lightning strike in Nottwil in canton Lucerne set fire to a house, although the blaze was soon extinguished by the downpour.

Some trains were cancelled and others delayed.

The storms follow several days of extreme heat, with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees Celsius. The highest temperatures measured on Sunday were 34 degrees.

Forecasters said that after a clear start on Monday further storms could be expected, particularly in the Alps.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR