Royal Meteorological Institute issues first ever Code Red weather warning

For the first time ever the Royal Meteorological Institute (KMI) has issued at Code Red weather warning. The warning has come about as result of the record temperatures that are forecast for the next few days. Temperatures on Wednesday are forecast to top 38°C in some areas with temperatures possibly even reaching 40°C on Thursday.  

A Code Red weather warning means that the whole population is advised to take measures to protect itself from the sun and not just certain groups such as children and the elderly. Despite the Code Red warning being in force the “Alarm Phase” measures as contained in the Ozone and Heat Plan have not been put into effect.

Since 2005 a National Ozone and Heat Plan has been in existence in Belgium to warn the population to protect itself against the heat. The warning phase of the plan was implemented on Friday and on Monday afternoon officials met to discuss whether the measures contained in the plan should become effective over the next few day. It was decided that this should not be the case.

The big difference between a Code Red weather warning and the alarm phase is that with the latter the authorities take a number of measures to protect the public. However, the Risk Assessment Group says that the measures already in force suffice as the extreme heat will only persist for a few days. An example of the measures that could be implemented if the alarm phase were to become effective, is the deployment of the Civil Defence Agency to distribute water.     

Meanwhile, in agreement with the Federal Crisis Cell, KMI has issued its highest warning level, Code Red due to the extreme heat and high ozone concentrations forecast for the next few days.     

What measures should you take?

With such extremely high temperatures, certain measures must be taken:

·     drink a lot,

·     maintain your salt levels,

·     rest a lot

·     stay in a cool place

·     In the event of dehydration wear wet cloths

·     Avoid direct sunlight.

·     Wherever possible bring yourself, others and your personal belongings to safety and follow the instructions of the given by the relevant authorities.