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Snowstorms usher in Swiss spring

Snow returned to Switzerland after a long period of warm weather Keystone

A blanket of snow welcomed spring on Wednesday, with forecasters expecting the weather to worsen before there is any improvement.

This content was published on March 21, 2007 - 13:10

The situation caused problems on Swiss roads, with a number of people injured in collisions.

Up to 90 centimetres of snow has fallen in the pre-Alps since Sunday.

Forecasters say that the country will have to wait until early next week to see warmer spring weather, as more snow is on its way.

The snowfall around the country made driving conditions precarious with around 100 weather-related accidents reported as temperatures dropped to just above freezing.

Police said at least seven people were injured in road accidents in St Gallen, where 40 centimetres of snow fell, Zurich and Bern.

Many cars were also a danger because motorists had already changed from winter to summer tyres.

A number of flights were delayed at Zurich Airport as planes had to be de-iced before taking off.

More snow

The weather situation is expected to worsen in the north on Thursday, according to Urs Keller from MeteoSwiss, the national weather service.

"We are expecting between 15 and 25 centimetres of snow," he said. Temperatures at 2,000 metres altitude are expected to drop to minus ten degrees.

The weather situation should improve by Friday, with temperatures at the weekend hovering between six and eight degrees.

In the south of the country, Thursday and Friday should be overcast but rain is expected at the weekend. Temperatures are expected to climb to around 12 degrees Celsius.

Warm winter

Switzerland has experienced one of the warmest winters ever, with average temperatures of between three and four degrees Celsius.

And forecasters believe that spring and summer will bring record temperatures.

The warmer winter temperatures across many parts of Europe have resulted in flowers blooming early and animals' biological clocks being disrupted.

swissinfo with agencies

Swiss climate records

Warmest location: Locarno-Monti 11.5°C (annual average)
Highest temperature: Grono (GR) 41.5°C August 11, 2003
Coldest location: Jungfraujoch -7.9°C (annual average)
Coldest temperature: La Brévine -41.8°C January 12, 1987
Highest rainfall in 1 day: Camedo TI, 414mm September 10, 1983
Highest rainfall in 1 year: Mönchsgrat 5,910mm, 1939/40
Driest location: Ackersand VS 521mm (annual average)
Longest dry period: Lugano 77 days (from December 6, 1988)
Highest new snowfall (per day): Klosters 130cm January 29/30, 1982
Highest snow amount: Säntis 816cm April 1999

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