Sunday, August 28, 2005

Switzerland Flooding

As flood waters start to receed, many tourists are scrambling to see whether their Swiss vacation plans should be changed. Much of the media is reporting some better news in the last day about the damages.

Regions of interest should be Bern with the Bernese Oberland, Lucern and Interlaken areas. Despite more rains, water levels seem to be stable according to official reports. As I checked the weather report yesterday, warmer weather in the high 20's C in almost all areas of Switzerland.

In the capital of Bern, residents of the city's low-lying Matte district have been able to go back. The area's businesses were severely damaged. It looked to me that the flood waters were at least 1 meter inside the buildings.

If you look at normal water levels, it is easy to see that in any flooding situation, the Matte quarter will take just over a meter of extra water before they are in danger. The metal guard rails in this picture were bombarded with depris and wood.

The Gotthard road, which traverses through the major roadway through the Swiss Alps, was closed during these floods. Trains and the roadway have now been restored, however I am sure there are large waiting periods.

Areas such as Engelberg near Central Lucern, are cut off from normal roads and trains because of the damage. In fact, Engelberg is still only accessible via helicopter.

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