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Maximum flood warnings issued in central Switzerland

Christian Fernsby |
Maximum flood warnings have been issued in parts of central Switzerland due to persistent rainfall, local media reported.

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As of Friday, Lake Lucerne, Lake Thun and Lake Biel have remained at the highest flood warning level (5) after continued, intense rainfall throughout the week.

Arcinfo reported on Friday morning that the situation in Lake Lucerne is particularly tense as its water level is 4 cm away from flooding the city center.

According to the Neue Zurcher Zeitung daily newspaper, the basements of some homes along the Reuss Riverbank have already been flooded and the fire brigade has been pumping water out of narrow streets.

Swissinfo reported that the major cities such as Basel and Bern are also facing high flood risks, with the River Aare reaching a flow rate of 540 cubic meters per second, nearing the 600 level recorded in the major floods of 2005.

In Bienne, RJB online radio reported that municipal authorities expect the lake to reach a record level of 431 meters by Friday.

The heavy rain and unusually cold temperatures have been attributed to a moist, low pressure system centered over Germany, where over 90 people have died. It is expected to cause sustained rainfall in Switzerland until Monday.