Though it stopped snowing in most places by noon, the roads agency asked people not to travel because of the dangerous situation and the expectation of fresh snow tonight.
The Met Office issued a code orange alert. This is a warning for slippery roads due to snow or black ice. The weather is expected to hamper traffic and promises dangerous conditions on the roads. Drivers are urged to keep a distance and moderate their speed. Be careful and patient and postpone your journey if possible.
Snowfall has made Belgian roads treacherous. At around 11AM drivers were unable to drive faster than 50 km/h on over 1,200 km of roads. In several parts motorway lanes were snowed under with traffic impossible. All Brussels road tunnels had to be closed. The tunnels reopened in the course of the afternoon. Officials at the Flemish traffic centre say that it simply isn't sensible to take to the roads now. In Brussels the local transport company took 16 of its 50 bus lines out of service. By mid afternoon all buses services were running again.Tram services too were disrupted. De Lijn bus services were disrupted in East and West Flanders, Flemish Brabant and Antwerp. Bus services have been suspended in the Flemish Ardennes because it is no longer safe.
The situation is set to become worse with more snow expected, especially in western areas. The snow is accompanied by blustery conditions. Accidents have already been reported on the Bruges ring road. There is also a warning for aquaplaning in all Flemish areas bar Limburg. Motorway slip roads are particularly slippery today! Some have had to be closed. The motoring association VAB reported a 64% jump in call outs this morning. Many drivers struggled to get their vehicle started, often due to a faulty battery.
The snow led to delays on the railways. In Ghent the local refuse collection department halted all collections. In Ieper an ice rink had to be closed due to the amount of snow that collapsed the roof.
"Normal service on the railways"
Rail track operator Infrabel has deployed special teams to keep points free of ice. The rail company has taken its precautions and no great disruption is reported. Even if there is heavy snowfall, the rail company hopes to be able to continue its normal service.
Also at the Flemish local transport company De Lijn precautions have been taken. De Lijn buses have special tires that should give them greater grip. The company is forecasting a 'difficult' evening rush hour.
"Don't come to Brussels Airport!"
Brussels Airport first warned of the possibility of delays at the country's main airport as a result of the heavy snowfall, but by noon had been forced to change its advise to: "don't come at all for the minute". By noon 60 flights had been cancelled, 90 had been delayed. Shortly before 2PM one runway was cleared allowing flights to resume, but no arrivals are expected until 6PM. No flights are landing at Ostend Airport today.
The airport authorities did their level best to keep runways clear of snow, but it was an uphill struggle. The airport authorities are urging passengers to check the latest flight information online or contact their travel agent. Passengers, who do come, are urged to allow extra time for their journey to the airport as the snow has also caused disruption on the roads.