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Switzerland records hottest day of year

Cooling off in the river Aare Keystone

Switzerland has experienced the hottest day of the year so far with record-breaking temperatures being recorded across many parts of the country. The heatwave is proving a joy to holidaymakers but is also causing a number of problems.

The hottest places in the country turned out to be Chur, where a temperature of 33.7 degrees was recorded, and Basel, where thermometers nudged 33.6 degrees.

The Swiss meteorological office also reported temperatures of just under 33 degrees in various parts of canton Valais.

However, the office said Thursday’s unusually high temperatures would also herald the end of the two-week hot spell.

Forecasters say there is little chance of temperatures reaching the all-time record in Switzerland – 39 degrees in Basel in the summer of 1952.

But the continuing heat is proving tough on tens of thousands of workers.

Train drivers face temperatures of 40 to 50 degrees Celsius in their cabins, according to the federal railways. Only about half of the network’s 1,500 cabins are air conditioned.

Ozone levels are also starting to exceed the accepted norms. All but one of the 16 centres that record ozone levels in Switzerland reported readings above accepted norms on Wednesday. The highest reading was in Lugano, canton Ticino.

Forecasters say a break in the heat is likely to last until Sunday. With the exception of the past two weeks, Switzerland’s weather has been poor this summer.

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