Storm: Code Orange in Flanders

The Met Office has issued a code orange alert for the larger part of Flanders. The storm that has reached our climes is causing considerable disruption.

One person has already died as a result of the storm weather: in Grez-Doiceau in Walloon Brabant a tree crashed onto a woman’s car. The accident happened near the Beausart wood. Fire-fighters and other emergency services attended the scene, but were not able to save the woman’s life.

On the coast wind speeds of up to 108 km/h were measured at Zeebrugge. Elsewhere on the coast in Middelkerke and Koksijde gusts of 100 km/h have been measured. Inland wind speeds are reaching up to 90 km/h. The inland port of Ghent too is at a standstill as pilots are experiencing difficulty boarding vessels.  Elsewhere navigation has been suspended too, but the port of Ghent should be back in business by midday. Only in Flemish Brabant is the lower code yellow still in operation.

Code orange means the wind will reach exceptionally high speeds with gusts of even higher intensity. Walking in the street against the wind becomes difficult. Trees may be uprooted; limbs may be torn off and structures including houses may sustain damage.

Across Flanders road traffic is facing disruption as uprooted trees and torn off limbs, fences and even blown away stones are ending up on the roads.  Trams and buses operated by the Flemish public transport company De Lijn are also facing disruption. Services cannot be guaranteed. 

In Brussels tram traffic has been suspended in a number of parts. Shuttle buses are operating between the Tervuren station and Madou.  In Brussels the Terkameren and Sonian forests have been closed to traffic.

In Kontich in Antwerp Province a tree crashed onto a school bus. There were 15 children in the vehicle at the time. Nobody was injured and all the children are now safely at school.

On the roads a tree ended up on the Brussels Ostend motorway at Nevele.  It has meanwhile been removed.

In West Flanders rail traffic was disrupted at Zedelgem for a while after a trampoline ended up on the rails. In Brussels too an obstacle on the track caused disruption. High speed rail traffic to the Netherlands is being rerouted via the old line north of the border. Regular rail services from Brussels to Amsterdam had to be suspended around 10:30 AM. In the Netherlands rail and air traffic was halted for a while.

Brussels Airport reports there are no problems as a result of the blustery conditions. Several KLM flights had to be cancelled due to the situation in the Netherlands.

VRT weatherman Frank Deboosere believes the storm was at its height in the early morning. This afternoon wind speeds will decrease and temperatures are set to fall.

A special home office helpline for non-life-threatening situations is in operation: 1722, but in Antwerp the line cannot cope with the number of callers.

A lorry overturned on the Ghent Antwerp motorway.

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