Updated 4 May: The train line between Bern and Lausanne has also been shut down due to a landslide.
GENEVA, Switzerland – Heavy rains over the Lake Geneva region and other parts of Switzerland provoked landslides, floods and forced the closing of an important rail route, roads and bridges.
The Swiss rail road system announced the Bern-Fribourg rail route which also connects Switzerland’s two largest cities, Zurich-Geneva, has been closed until the morning of 4 May.
According to MeteoSwiss, “The disturbance dropped huge amounts of water. Up to 238 mm in Clusanfe in Valais, 50 mm in the Geneva region, 130 mm at the Dole and between 38 and 90 mm on the Plateau.”
The Arve River water flow reached 905m3 per second vs the normal 77m3 per second for this time of the year. The largest water surge seen in 80 years.
Videos posted on Vine, Instagram and Twitter captured by Geneva residents showed the rapidly moving waters.
The GHI newspaper also captured dramatic images of the fast moving waters (see video here).
On Saturday 2 May, police closed the Ernest-Ansermet and Arve quays, and the Wildsdorf, Acacias and Batîe bridges.
According to city officials, the Carouge Bridge was not in danger and remained open as it is higher than the rest.
Residents are still being asked to avoid going near the river banks due to possible flooding, landslides and downed tress.
This weekend the scenes near the banks of the river were captured by newspapers and also by elected officials, such as Luc Barthasat, a Geneva State Councilor who posted photos of the engorged river.
St-Gingolph, a town situated on the south bank of Lake Geneva, was severely affected after the Morge River burst its banks and the rains provoked a landslide.
At least 12 people had to be evacuated. Swiss firefighters have been working with their French colleagues to clear the area and allow normal transit through the Swiss-French border.
Other towns in neighboring France were also affected by the strong rains.
And, this is not yet over. MeteoSwiss is forecasting more rain and dangerous conditions for the next couple of days.
- In photos: Geneva after the flood (by Ann Fitzpatrick)
- High water alert remains in effect in Geneva, bridges reopen