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I do like the fact that we enjoy four distinct seasons. However, I probably could fill a whole book describing Switzerland's Climate throughout the year. In one sentence: extremely diverse, irregular and unstable - always good for a surprise.
Due to the fact that Switzerland has very low and high altitudes the temperatures range from Arctic cold to Mediterranean mild and dry and all kinds of variations in-between. Switzerland's climate is heavily influenced by oceans: a cooling sea breeze from the north, milder but humid currents from the west and the warmth from the south.
The Alps are acting as a climatic barrier between northern and southern Switzerland. The valleys in-between mountain ranges are sheltered and consequently dryer with more hours of sunshine and less rain, for example the Cantons Valais and Graubünden.
The foothills and lowlands north of the Alps experience more precipitation. The southern regions are mainly influenced by the Mediterranean Sea - winter is milder and spring starts earlier.
Crazy weather patterns can occur year-round. We had snow in the lowlands as late as May or as early as October and snowstorms in the Alps end of August beginning of September; heat-waves in November and month-long rain in July and August, or no snow at all until mid-January.
The highest temperature was recorded on August 11, 2003 in Grono in Southern Switzerland (Graubünden) with a temperature of + 41.5 Celsius (106.7 Fahrenheit). And while the Jungfraujoch at an altitude of 3580 m above sea level / 11,745 feet shows an annual average temperature of -7.5 Celsius (19.5 Fahrenheit), the lowest temperature was measured in La Brévine in the Canton Jura with - 41.8 degree Celsius (-43.24 Fahrenheit) on January 12, 1987 at an altitude of 1043 m / 3422 feet.
Now, these are extreme occurrences. I compiled a list with typical annual average temperatures during the months of January, March, April, July, September and December. The tables below show minimum and maximum temperatures in Celsius (c) and Fahrenheit (f) based on the weather data collected between 1981 and 2010 by MeteoSchweiz.
For the daily accurate weather forecast including a 6-day overview and detailed information, visit the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss.
So, do you wonder what's the best time to visit Switzerland? Well, that all depends on your itinerary. Here's a page that will help you make a decision.
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