Switzerland is suffering dramatic flooding after three days of non-stop torrential rain which have already cost the lives of two firefighters, buried alive in a mudslide. The west and centre of the country have been the worst-hit, with road and rail links cut, and electricity supplies badly disrupted. Several rivers have burst their banks, and Lake Thoune has reached its critical water level. There are fears it could spill over into the adjacent town of the same name.
Residents in the town of Sarnen have been told to retreat to the upper floors of their homes as their lake is also in danger of overflowing, and mudslides are also reported in the Swiss Jura, and on the shores of Lake Leman. The lowest-lying suburbs of the capital, Berne, are 50 centimetres under water.
The situation is also critical in Austria, where Graz, the capital of the province of Styria, is partially underwater. The river Mur is threatening to burst its banks, endangering the population of a quarter of a million.
A judslide ripped through one house, killing two women, and several villages have been cut off from the outside world. Electrical storms have been particularly severe, outing power supplies in some areas, and further heavy rain has been forecast. The authorities are warning people to be vigilant as there are risks of more mudslides.