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Packing clothes for switzerland and italy

Hi We will be in Grindelwald for 7 days in last week of june. The forecast shows thunderstorms in all 7 days.:-( Are these forecasts accurate or are there chances of change? I am just wondering if we should cancel our stay here and look for sunnier place?

And then we head to Italy (Florence and Rome) for 7 days. The temperature here is in 80s. Any suggestions on packing clothing.

Posted by
6390 posts

Weather forecasting has come a long way, but still...forecasts are generally pretty accurate anyplace, for about 2-3 days ahead. Beyond that, it's a crap-shoot.

One also has to keep in mind that most "weather forecasts" are really gross oversimplifications. Saying "there will be thunderstorms" really means there's a chance of thunderstorms at some time in some place. Often that means a storm hits some places and misses others, and even where one hits, it's not like a thundercloud parks overhead and sits there all day dumping hail, lightning and a downpour. In most places, thunderstorms come, then they go.

Personally, I would not make a radical change to my plans, I would simply bring clothes that are appropriate for many different kinds of weather - which is a good guideline pretty much wherever you go.

Posted by
1194 posts

In general, thunderstorms hit in the afternoon. That means you have until 2 pm or so to go hiking etc. As others have stated, it’s variable this far out in time.
My one caution from my mountaineering days - Beware of thunderstorms sneaking up from the other side of the mountain, especially if you are on the leeward side. You won’t see the storm until you get to the top (the mountain is blocking the view). At that point, you are very exposed. Lightning is a big issue.

Thunderstorms also like to push up the valley. If you are in Grindelwald you most likely will seen the clouds start to collect for an hour or two before they do anything.

One suggestion: take the tram to the top in the morning and hike down.

On dress:
Bring short sleeve shirts with add-ons for the mountain. One pair of pants that roll into capris are nice too. That will work for both places. A light cardigan works in the mountains and also late in the evening in Italy (and air conditioned places). The cardigan should be thin enough to roll up into your purse.

Mountain Add-ons are: a waterPROOF jacket, maybe a light baselayer top. Depending on weather, a puff jacket or vest isn’t bad either, especially if it rains a lot and gets bone chilling damp. A pair of light silk long John pants or a pair of leggings add warm under your regular pants. You can store them in a quart sized ziplock in your day pack. A pair of wool socks save your feet if they get wet.

In short, bring warm weather clothes and layer up for the mountains. There’s no need to bring two sets of clothes for two locations.

Posted by
6113 posts

The weather in Europe is erratic this year, so plan for anything and pack layers appropriately. It sounds as though you almost need two different wardrobes. Forecasts any further out than 2 days won’t be accurate.

I am currently on holiday in south western France where it has been 18 degrees and cloudy today with rain forecast for tonight, whereas this time last year here, it was 35 degrees and not a cloud in sight. Scotland has been warmer for much of the last week.

Posted by
228 posts

Don't be discouraged...went to the same are a few years ago and they
predicted rain every day but for the most part weather was beautiful!

Posted by
20 posts

Thanks everyone. Your replies have brought cheer to my mind. Will follow packing and clothing advice! Thanks very much.

Posted by
5094 posts

What weather site are you using? I've noticed with Accuweather, a very popular site, that they're fond of forecasting thunderstorms. I've seen forecasts for thunderstorms in Portsmouth in mid December, a very, very rare occurence, and lo and behold they never materialise. I now take every forecast of thunderstorms with a huge pinch of salt from such sites.

Posted by
20 posts

I was using
Someone has suggested I refer as its a local Swiss site. I will monitor the weather 2/3 days before and we will plan activities accordingly. But wont change the location.

Posted by
1309 posts

And pack water resistant footwear, even if it's just out for supper in the evening... it just takes a few over full gutters to make a walk to the restaurant an obstacle course

Posted by
444 posts

We had a similar situation when we were packing for Prague last month and it didn't rain a drop. Now, we did get some rain in Germany, but not every day like it was originally predicted, and the days it did rain, it was only a small part of the day. It was MUCH warmer than predicted too. Weather forecasting seems to be very crapshooty lately, both here and when we were in Europe. Have fun! It's going to be hot in Italy but you probably know that already. :)

Posted by
4429 posts

I review wunderground website for historical weather data for the dates and location of interest. I look at the past 3 years to get an average. I like Wunderground as it also includes precipitation data and indicates the averages. I tend to pack for those temperatures and weather.
As mentioned, some places show rain forecast for every day and it is often only a chance of rain and quite localized.

Posted by
11294 posts

There was a recent post (I don't have time to find it now, but it was about a month ago), of someone in a similar situation. They were going to the Berner Oberland and saw rain forecast for their entire stay. It turned out they had no rain at all once they actually got there.

Realize that mountain weather is both unpredictable and rapidly changeable. You not only have to look much closer to the time, but you have to look at each hour; it can be raining in the morning and clear by afternoon, or vice versa. The key is being flexible, and not waiting. For instance, if you get there and the weather is nice, don't waste time unpacking - get going! If the weather is not so nice, consider activities like Rick's valley floor walk, the Trummelbach Falls, the Lauterbrunnen Talmuseum (more interesting then I expected), the Ballenberg Open Air Museum (but this one has muddy paths if it's really raining - ask me how I know), or browsing in stores in Grindelwald or Interlaken.

Definitely check webcams before doing very expensive activities, like the Jungfraujoch or Schilthorn. When I got to Grindelwald, I was going to take the lift to First - until I saw on the webcam at the station. The top was a wall of sheer whiteness with no visibility!