10/11 October 2011
Flood event in the Bernese Oberland, in central Switzerland and Valais
Between 70 and over 120 mm of precipitation fell on the northern slopes of the Alps between Thursday 6 October and Monday 10 October 2011. The volumes of new snow (up to 50 cm) that fell in the night of Saturday to Sunday were equally remarkable. According to the information provided by MeteoSwiss, due to the cold front, the snow line dipped temporarily below 1000 m asl on Saturday and rose again to over 3000 m asl on Monday morning due to the warm air flowing from subtropical latitudes. The significant thaw resulted in the rapid melting of a considerable volume of the snow and together with the additional precipitation from Sunday night to Monday midday caused floods in the Bernese Oberland, central Switzerland and the canton of Valais.
26 April 2011
Forest fire Visp
On 26 April 2011, a fire in a body shop in Visp (Valais) caused a very serious forest fire. Facilitated by the extraordinary drought in spring and strong wind, the fire quickly spread along the southern slope of the Rhone valley between Visp and Eyholz. According to eye-witness reports the flames were up to 40 metres high and the column of smoke was visible from a considerable distance. Thanks to the extensive deployment of the army, consisting of at total of ten helicopters and 30 members of the fire brigade, it was possible to bring the fire under control quickly and no people were injured. However, over 100 ha of protective forest were destroyed. Hence the area of protective forest affected was bigger than that in the major forest fire in Leuk (Valais) in 2003.