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Rain and meltwater St-Ursanne under water due to floods

St-Ursanne under water, in canton Jura

The mediaeval city of St-Ursanne is under water after the River Doubs burst its banks

(Gael Klein, RTS)

In St-Ursanne in canton Jura, days of heavy rain have caused the River Doubs to burst its banks and flood parts of the mediaeval town. Rivers across Switzerland, both in lowlands and in the Alps, are extremely high after a week of precipitation and melting snow. 

As well as St-Ursanne, similar flooding has been reported in the communes of Goumois and Soubey along the Doubs, and at Bassecourt on the Sorne River.

In the lowlands, heavy precipitation and melting snow have increased the risk of floods and landslides considerably. Since Saturday, a total of 60-110 millimetres (2.4-4.3 inches) of rain has been recorded in the central Plateau region, which for some locations represents more than the usual amount for the entire month of January. The weather conditions in canton Valais have also been extreme, with heavy snowfalls over the past three months. Mild temperatures have caused some of this snow to melt. Both factors have resulted in high water levels north of the Alps.

The greatest risk of flooding is currently on the Rhine at the mouth of the Aare River up to Basel in northwest Switzerland.  The situation there is currently at alert stage 3 and is predicted to remain at this critical stage for Tuesday evening. The authorities in the Aare, Reuss and Limmat regions, however, no longer expect rising water levels, Swiss public radio, SRF, reported on Tuesday.

In the Alps, there is a risk of land- and mudslides due to rain-gorged slopes at an altitude of around 1,600-2,000 metres (5,249-6,562 feet). Numerous mountain roads are affected or closed in the cantons of Valais and Graubünden, as well as in central Switzerland and the Bernese Oberland.  

RTS/SRF/sb

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