Orange alert lifted, except for the coast

New thunderstorms have swept across the country today. The worst is over now, but the wind can be violent until late in the evening, especially at the coast.  The Met Office had warned members of the public by sending an orange alert.

Showers came from France and moved north across Belgium, which was caught in between the hot weather in the east and much cooler weather in the west. This particular situation triggered violent showers and thunderstorms, especially in the east of the country.

However, speaking in the early afternoon, the VRT's weather presenter Frank Deboosere said that the worst of the rain and flood danger was over. The impact was moderate, though Hasselt was confronted with a couple of flooded street (photo). 

Strong winds can occur anywhere in the country, until the late afternoon and tonight. Beach bars in Ostend will close earlier as gale-force winds are expected between 5 and 7PM and from 9PM to midnight. 

The Brussels regional authorities announced this morning that parks and woodlands would close at noon as a precaution. Parking lots at the Zoniënwoud already closed last night. The forest should reopen tomorrow. The cities of Antwerp and Leuven have taken similar measures. 

Brussels parks will be closed from noon today

The orange alert is number 3 on a scale between 1 and 4. It means that the weather (heavy rainfall and gusts of wind) may cause floods or other damage. Members of the public are asked to stay on the alert and to avoid going out on the road, if this is not necessary. The special telephone numer to report any damage, 1722, is still operational. 

After today's rain, Friday will be dry, but much cooler, with temperatures peaking just above 20 Celsius. Saturday should also be dry and cool, while in Sunday the sun will be back in full force, with temperatures climbing close to 30 Celsius. However, the weather will be unstable next week, forecasters say, with always a chance of rain and no high temperatures.