ZURICH - Switzerland is on track for a mild start to the winter and above average temperatures could even stretch into February, weather forecasters told the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper, raising hopes that energy supplies will not be overstretched.

"The seasonal forecast from October to December tends to point to a mean temperature for the whole of Switzerland above the average of the last 30 years," Stephan Bader of weather forecaster MeteoSchweiz told the newspaper.

A mild start to the winter would help to ensure that gas supplies and water reservoirs do not empty too quickly.

The Swiss government last month launched a voluntary campaign to urge consumers and businesses to conserve energy as shortages of gas and power loom this winter that could lead to rationing in a worst-case scenario.

Long-term models from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) were also encouraging for February, when the danger of a power shortage is most acute, the NZZ said.

"The probability of above-average values is increased according to our weather maps," Carlo Buontempo, from the ECMWF's Climate Change Service, told the newspaper.

(Writing by Paul Carrel, Editing by Alexandra Hudson)