On Friday evening, January 25 in 1946 it was already dark and there was snow on the ground in Sierre when at around 6.32 p.m. the ground shook for several seconds. People ran out into the streets, chimneys and tiles fell from the rooftops and the streets were strewn with rubble. There was a power cut, and for 10 minutes the city was plunged into complete darkness. Very soon, the telephone lines became so overburdened that for a number of hours great uncertainty and chaos ensued.
Only the next day did the full impact of the earthquake, which had a magnitude of 5.8, become clear: 4 fatalities and 3,500 damaged buildings. The total damage caused totalled around CHF 26 million in today's money.