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Skiing To Replace Tennis In Europe’s Summer?

June 22, 1987

LONDON (AP) _ Tennis, anyone? No, said Europe’s weather, and no cricket, either. And you’ll have trouble with that bike race in Switzerland. But for summer skiing, there’s some fresh snow for the Alps.

The cold and wet arrival of summer has sent above-average numbers of people fleeing from northern and central Europe to the Mediterranean for sunshine and delayed the start on Monday of the two-week Wimbledon tennis championships.

Afflicted by weather judged the least summery in 30 years, farmers from Sweden to West Germany are worried about vegetable crops and predicting higher food prices.

″If summer weather doesn’t arrive soon, a lot of farmers are going to be facing a difficult time,″ said Peter Habermayer of the Baden-Wuerttemberg Farmers’ Association in West Germany.

In Switzerland, two Alpine passes were closed by snow Monday, and Davos, the winter resort, got snow last Friday. Lake Neuchatel on Sunday reached its highest level since January 1955, although it was still about one foot below the danger level.

Some rivers in western Switzerland were reported flooding, and tour boats that normally ply the Rhine River between Cologne and Mainz in West Germany were not running because of high water and lack of tourists to brave the rain and chill.

The bad weather has marred the Tour de Suisse road cycling race, but no legs have had to be cancelled in the Swiss event.

In northern and central Europe, Associated Press bureaus reported weather significantly wetter and cloudier than normal, not just for the last few days but for all of June and, in some areas, back to May.

The London Weather Center says the general weather conditions have been more northerly than usual for late spring and early summer, with the rain- producing depressions farther south than usual.

Rain forced the loss of an entire day’s test match between England and Pakistan on Friday at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London. It was the first time since 1978 that the premier world cricket venue, which has elaborate machinery for sopping up rain, had lost a day’s play. It happened again on Monday.

London has averaged four hours of sunshine daily in June, compared to the usual seven hours.

It rained every day of the 11-day Paris Air Show, which ended Sunday, forcing cancellation of some of the flying demonstrations.

The weather spirred business for travel agents sending Europeans south. In Austria, parts of which already have received 150 percent of the average rain for the full month of June, travel agents reported bookings 25-30 percent higher than normal.

″The long winter, the persistent cold periods, and now the wet and cold weather over the last few days have provided us with an in-between season we have not seen for a long time,″ said Manuela Stipply at the Meridian travel agency in Vienna.

The weather in Portugal, Italy and Greece was reported hot and dry.

Forecasters expected little change for northern Europe until late this week.

Update hourly