Ample snowfall signals arrival of Swiss winter

Cyclists ride their bikes on ski slopes in Villars during the 30th GP St-Sylvestre, the oldest mountain bike snow race. © KEYSTONE / ADRIEN PERRITAZ

Switzerland has been blanketed in snow over the weekend as the long-awaited winter finally arrived in the Alpine state. Weather conditions conspired to produce an ample covering in many regions, with a high of 73 centimetres of fresh snow recorded in one village.

This content was published on January 6, 2019 - 16:46

The Swiss meteorological service, MeteoSwissExternal link, forecasts plenty more snowfall to come in the coming week. The reason is that a moist, warm front has accumulated over the alps from the north.

The southeastern canton of Graubünden saw 40 to 70 centimetres of snowfall on Saturday and into Sunday morning. The village of St Antönien, situated at 1,510 metres above sea level, saw the most snowfall – 73 centimetres.

Some low-lying valleys were also carpeted at the weekend. However, there was precious little snow in the French-speaking part of the country and none in the warmer southern area bordering Italy. The Locarno-Magadino weather station in the southern canton of Ticino recorded the mildest January night (11 degrees Celcius) since records began in 1959.

The increased snowfall comes with dangers. Many mountainous areas in central and eastern Switzerland have been at elevated risk of avalanches for some weeks. Earlier this week, two people died and another was injured in three separate avalanches.

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