Ticker on the weather situation in Switzerland – +++ strangers remove sandbags and barriers at Lake Biel +++ drinking water in Freiburg contaminated by faecal germs
The flood situation in Switzerland worsened on Friday and continues to be tense late in the day. The record level of 2007 was broken on Lake Biel, and Lake Lucerne has reached the critical level in Lucerne. The weather on the other hand calmed down slowly.
Since Thursday morning, 40 to 70 millimeters of precipitation have come together, especially in the canton of Schwyz and in the Walensee and Alpstein regions, as the weather service Meteonews announced on Friday. The flood situation remains «acute».
According to the natural hazard bulletin of the federal government, the highest danger level 5 applied to Lake Biel, Lake Thun and Lake Lucerne. Danger level 4 applied to the Aare below Lake Thun, Lake Brienz, the Upper Rhine, Lake Neuchâtel, the Reuss and Lake Zurich.
The Bernese authorities assumed on Friday afternoon that the water levels in Brienzer, Thuner and Bielersee would reach their maximum level in the night from Friday to Saturday.
New record high water on Lake Biel
At Lake Biel, the high water level reached the new record of 430.94 meters above sea level on Friday evening at 9:50 p.m. That is about half a meter above the damage limit. The previous maximum water level from 2007 was 430.88 meters.
Because of the flood, rail traffic in the Twann was impaired. There were train cancellations and delays. A “big problem” for the emergency services was the onlookers who disregard the barriers, block access to the deployment areas with vehicles and take risks.
The water level in Lake Thun also continued to rise. The water level on Friday at 9:50 p.m. was 558.74 meters above sea level, 44 centimeters above the damage limit. Until the record of the “water of the century” in 2005, 51 centimeters were missing. In 2005 the level reached 559.25.
Hohe Aare in Thun and Bern
The Aare runoff in Thun Schwäbis was also at the highest level of danger. There, at 9:50 p.m., around 503 cubic meters per second flowed from Thun towards Bern or into a relief tunnel – in 1999 it was 564 cubic meters per second.
For security reasons, 16 residents of a retirement home in Thun had to be brought to safety, as the access to the building for rescue workers could no longer be guaranteed.
The discharge volume of the Aare at the Schönau measuring station in the city of Bern also increased by Friday evening. There, danger level 5 was exceeded with a discharge of 562 cubic meters per second. In the middle of Friday afternoon it was a little less again. The 1999 record is 613 cubic meters per second.
At the weir in Hagneck BE, according to estimates by the authorities, between 900 and 1050 cubic meters of water thundered into Lake Biel every second. At the regulating plant in Port BE, where the Aare leaves Lake Biel again, however, a maximum of 650 cubic meters could only be discharged, and even this only “if the hydrological situation permits”.
Lake Lucerne above critical mark
In the city of Lucerne, the water level in Lake Lucerne, at 434.94 meters above sea level, exceeded the critical mark of 434.90 meters on Friday evening. At this height, Schwanenplatz, which lies between the lake and the old town, is flooded. For this reason, the Chapel Bridge, the Rathaussteg, the Reuss Bridge and the Spreuer Bridge were closed. The entry and exit of the Luzern-Zentrum A2 motorway was also temporarily closed due to flooding.
The village of Brunnen SZ was closed to traffic until further notice due to the rising water level in Lake Lucerne. In Buochs NW and Ennetbürgen NW there were occasional precautionary evacuations. The closures around the Lauerzersee continued according to a tweet from the Schwyz canton police.
The Seestrasse on the Ägerisee was partly under water and only one lane passable from Unterägeri ZG towards Oberägeri ZG. On Friday night the Trombach burst its banks in Oberägeri. The reinforcement of the Reuss dam in Hünenberg ZG that was carried out on Thursday seemed to be proving its worth, according to the cantonal crisis management team.
The cantons of Lucerne, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Uri and Schwyz banned shipping and water sports on Lake Lucerne until Monday evening.
No boat trips due to the impact of the waves
In Zurich, the police have initially asked private boat owners to refrain from going out. This is to prevent additional waves and swell or damage to houses on exposed bank areas. The Central Swiss Police Corps also launched a corresponding appeal, particularly with a view to the upcoming weekend.
Commercial shipping on Lake Zurich was partially suspended from Friday to at least Saturday. According to the Uster ZH city police, the persistent rain also caused Lake Greifensee to overflow its banks.
According to information from the canton police on Friday, the flood situation in the canton of Schwyz also remained tense. There were blocked roads especially in the area around the Lauerzersee. The level of the lake rose by around 30 centimeters on Friday after heavy rainfall between midnight and 8 a.m. The A4 motorway between Goldau and Seewen was therefore closed.
Washed under the banks of the Rhine in Basel
As a precautionary measure, Grenzacherstrasse was temporarily closed in Basel. According to the Basel-Stadt police and ambulance service, the banks of the Rhine were washed away at Rankhof, and the slope was broken off.
The situation around the Aargau rivers eased slightly on Friday, according to the cantons. The situation was also relatively stable in places where action was taken. The authorities continue to expect high discharge volumes for the Rhine, Reuss, Limmat and Aare in some cases.
The Neuchâtel canton government issued a ban on activities for the whole of Lake Neuchâtel on Friday after consultation with the other neighboring cantons of Vaud and Friborg. Bathing and diving are also prohibited until further notice. Commercial shipping remains allowed, tourist traffic must rest. Lakes Murten, Schiffenen and Gruyère are also affected by the ban, as the canton of Friborg announced on Twitter.
For security reasons, the French-speaking Swiss energy company Groupe E switched off the electricity between Cheyres FR and Cudrefin VD on Lake Neuchâtel on Friday afternoon. This is to avoid dangers related to the flood.