Tourists in the mountains at risk. Due to the heat, rocks and ice fall from the peaks

Tourists in the mountains at risk.  Due to the heat, rocks and ice fall from the peaks

Police in one of the European countries warn tourists about the danger posed by the heat. And it’s not only about dangerously high temperatures, but also about their consequences for the environment. They can cause rocks and ice to fall off the mountains.

Swiss police warn that the heatwave increases the danger of rocks and ice falling from the Alps. On Wednesday, warnings were issued for mountaineers and tourists in southwestern Switzerland. We would like to remind you that in the past there have been fatal accidents involving hikers or vacationers who were hit by stones or pieces of ice.

Dangerous consequences of heat in the Alps

Valais police say soaring temperatures and 0 degrees Celsius at a record altitude of almost 5,300 meters have accelerated erosion in the Alps.

“With the heat wave that has occurred in recent days and will continue in the coming days, the threat level in the high mountains has increased,” regional police spokesman Steve Leger said.

High temperatures have made the standard nighttime freezing of ice that keeps it stable and solid no longer so obvious. The thaw means that patches of ice, blocks or towers of ice on top of glaciers, and rock formations held in place by ice could shift, posing a hazard to mountaineers.

This year alone, 17 mountaineers have lost their lives in the Valais region. This is higher than the annual statistics recorded in the last 5 years. To this must be added 6 tourists who died during trips at lower altitudes in the region.

Only five of these 23 victims were Swiss. The others are citizens of Austria, Belgium, Great Britain, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Romania, Taiwan and Ukraine.

Heatwave in Switzerland

The heat wave in Switzerland is expected to last until Friday. The highest temperature can reach up to 37°C. “An exceptionally strong anticyclone and warm air of subtropical origin are currently ensuring hot weather across the country,” MeteoSwiss says on its website, adding that many measuring stations in Switzerland set new temperature records in the second half of August.

The Swiss weather service had to climb to a record altitude of almost 5,300 meters to register the “freezing point”.

“The Payerne radiosonde recorded 0°C at an altitude of 5,298 m on the night of August 20-21, 2023, which is a record since measurements began in 1954.” – reported the weather service MétéoSuisse. The previous record was set on July 25 last year and was 5,184 m.

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