Storm sweeps over Flanders - carnival parades cancelled

Stormy weather once again has Flanders in its grip this weekend after wind speeds of 9 Beaufort were recorded on the Flemish coast.  The storm comes at a bad time as many towns up and down the country have been gearing up for carnival parades today. The storm also impacted on flights at Brussels Airport.

Around 8:45 the airport decided to halt the loading and unloading of planes on the tarmac.  The decision was taken out of safety concerns about staff.  As a result luggage could not be loaded or unloaded from planes and tanking of aircraft also had to be halted.  Fortunately, the problems were of short duration and work has meanwhile resumed.

A Code Yellow alert is in force. According to Met weatherman David Dehenauw storms are only given a name when a Code Orange alert is issued.  Then it is the country where the Code Orange is first issued that has the good luck to choose a name from its list.

Inland gusts of up to 90 km/h are expected.  On the coast the wind could reach speeds of 100 km/h.  The 1722 helpline has been activated for people seeking non-urgent assistance. This is the third storm to hit our climes in only two weeks and we need to go back to 2009 for that to be repeated.

Carnival parades in Eisden, Lommel and Essen have been cancelled as a precaution. In Aalst, capital of Flemish carnival, the security unit met earlier than planned and decided to delay the start of the parade by one hour.

The worst of the storm expected in the morning with decreasing wind speeds this afternoon.

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