Thunderstorms trigger floods and traffic chaos across Flanders

Torrential rain caused inundations and long traffic jams in various places late on Wednesday afternoon. Flanders had the longest jams since the start of the corona crisis. 

Antwerp's Kennedytunnel, one of the country's busiest traffic hotspots, became flooded in the afternoon when the water could not escape via the sewage system because of an excess of mud from a construction site nearby. This caused long tailbacks in both directions. At one stage, motorists wanting to pass underneath the River Scheldt were facing waiting times of two hours. There were 185 kilometres of tailbacks across the country, a new 'record' since the start of the corona crisis. 

Torhout sees more rain in half an hour than in two months

The Belgian Met Office had issued an Orange Alert, with the provinces of Antwerp and Limburg in the north and West Flanders bearing the brunt of the bad weather. Fire services in Antwerp received about a hundred calls for flooded streets or basements.

But the heavy showers also caused havoc in other places: Torhout (in West Flanders) had to cope with 30 litres of water in half an hour, which is more than the past two months together. Water levels climbed to 80 centimetres in some streets, and two tunnels got flooded. 90-year-old Margareta Yde's home  in Torhout was flooded for the fourth time: "I'm always anxious when it starts to rain hard. I know I have to call my children then. It's hard to cope at my age." 

The E40 Motorway in Loppem was completely flooded. 

In Brussels, various tunnels got inundated, such as the Georges Henri, Stefania and Hallepoort tunnels, which had to be closed for a while. 

Click on the video below to watch footage from the Kennedytunnel, Torhout and Brussels. 

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