New Year, new January heat record: More than 20°C recorded in Swiss Alps

New Year, new January heat record: More than 20°C recorded in Swiss Alps
On Sunday, 20.2°C was measured in the town of Delémont. Credit: Canva

Never before was it warmed to the north of the Swiss Alps in January than on Sunday (1 January), when a new heat record for that month was set as temperatures soared above 20°C.

The town of Delémont, located in the canton of Jura on the northern side of the Swiss Alps, recorded 20.2°C. Never before has it been warmer there, Swiss weather and climate agency MeteoSchweiz reported.

"This 20.2°C is thus the highest January temperature measured on the northern side of the Alps. Together with Vaduz, 20°C was measured in Delémont for the first time on the northern side of the Alps," a blog on its website read.

Temperatures in Delémont on Sunday surged more than 16°C above the average for the past 30 years before the turn of the year, making it feel just "like June."

Multiple records set

The exceptionally warm is a result of these areas being caught between a low-pressure complex extending from the Iberian Peninsula to the North Sea and a high-pressure system in the eastern Mediterranean, resulting in a mild south-westerly wind combined with a so-called "föhn" or a warm dry wind.

In Grenchen, in the neighbouring midlands, the cold air was gathering which resulted in the station here registering just 0°C on Sunday morning, while the station in Delémont already recorded 17°C, as a result of the south-westerly wind.

The previous record for the month of January stood at 19.4°C and was measured on 12 January 1993 in the city of Lucerne, which sits amid snowcapped mountains on Lake Lucerne.

Several other measuring stations in the area also broke the heat record, MeteoSchweiz said, while some records were set for night-time minima. In Vaduz, the temperature only dropped to 16.1°C.

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In France, such unseasonably mild temperatures, coupled with recent rainfall in the French mountains, greatly disrupted the work of ski resorts, leading to the closure of around half the slopes in the country last week.

Meanwhile, records were also broken in Belgium, where in the early hours of Sunday, 15.2°C was recorded in the Royal Meteorological Institute in Uccle. Saturday was the hottest New Year’s Eve since measurements began in 1833.

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