Records and extremes

Records illustrate the climatic fluctuations. The most extreme climate and weather conditions recorded at MeteoSwiss measuring stations are shown below for the parameters of temperature, precipitation and wind. The geographical distribution of heavy precipitation in Switzerland is shown below.

Swiss records

Swiss records in terms of temperature, precipitation and wind are shown below.

Temperatures

Temperatures (2m above ground)
Warmest location    
Grono (GR)
324 m above sea level
12.4 °C average annual temperature 1981-2010 (1)
Locarno-Monti (TI)
367 m above sea level
12.4 °C average annual temperature 1981-2010 (1)
Lugano (TI)
273 m above sea level
12.4 °C average annual temperature 1981-2010 (1)
Coldest location    
Jungfraujoch
3,580 m above sea level
-7.2 °C average annual temperature 1981-2010 (1)
Highest temperature    
Grono (GR)**
382 m above sea level
41.5 °C 11 August 2003
Lowest temperature    
La Brévine (NE)*
1,048 m above sea level
-41.8 °C 12 January 1987

* The measurement series from La Brévine (minimum and maximum temperatures) was homogenised in 2011. In the process of doing so, it was found that the minimum temperature of -41.8 °C measured on 12 January 1987 would have been equivalent to -42.5 °C under today's measurement conditions. The difference is due to the transition, in October 1997, from the former manual system of measurements (in a measuring hut) to an automatic measuring system.

** At the time, the Grono measurement station was located on the slope a little way above the village, hence the slightly higher altitude than today's location (see "Warmest location" above).

Rain and snow

Dryest location    
Ackersand (VS)
700 m above sea level
545 mm average annual precipitation 1981-2010 (1)
Wettest location    
Säntis
2,502 m above sea level
2'837 mm average annual precipitation 1981-2010 (1)
Highest volume
of rain
     
in 10 minutes

Locarno-Monti (TI)
366 m above sea level

33.6 mm

29 August 2003
in 1 hour Locarno-Monti (TI)
366 m above sea level
91.2 mm 28 August 1997
in 1 day Camedo (TI)
550 m above sea
455 mm 26 August 1935
in 2 days Mosogno (TI)
760 m above sea level
612 mm 23/24 September 1924
in 3 days Camedo (TI)
550 m above sea level
768 mm 3 - 5 September 1948
in 1 month Camedo (TI)
550 m above sea level
1,239 mm April 1986 (1)
in 1 year Säntis
2,502 m above sea level
4,173 mm 1922 (1)
Deepest snow      
  Säntis
2,502 m above sea level
816 cm April 1999
Greatest volume
of snow
     
in 1 day Bernina Pass,
2,307 m above sea level
130 cm 15 April 1999
in 2 days Bernina Pass,
2,307 m above sea level
215 cm 15 April 1999
in 3 days Weissfluhjoch
2,690 m above sea level
229 cm 13 - 15 February 1990

Storms and wind

Highest wind speed (gusts)
In the mountains    
Grand St Bernard 268 km/h 27 February 1990
(Hurricane Vivian)
In the lowlands    
Glarus 190 km/h 15 July 1985
(thunderstorm)

Heavy precipitation

The average of the highest precipitation sums over a specified period of a year provides information about the geographical distribution of heavy precipitation. This is shown in the following graph of one-day precipitation sums, in mm, (from 1961 to 2014).

Enlargement: Map of Switzerland with the average annual maximum 1-day precipitation sum. Maximum values were measured in the Ticino. One-day precipitation is also strong along the northern alpine rim.
Average annual maximum 1-day precipitation sum [mm]. The average values is based on the period 1961-2014. © MeteoSwiss

The heaviest precipitation normally falls in Ticino, where the southern orographic effect is primarily responsible for the large amounts of rainfall. The peak amounts of rainfall found in the inner Alpine valleys, in particular, in the Rhone valley, are more modest in comparison. In the Swiss plateau, it is thunderstorms that are the main cause of heavy precipitation events, and it is unsurprising, therefore, that the heaviest precipitation in that region occurs primarily during the summer months.