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Storm Odette causes havoc on the Flemish coast

It’s the first time Belgian weather forecasters got the chance to name a storm and what a storm it’s been! Storm Odette won’t be easily forgotten on our North Sea coast. The fire services received over a thousand calls.  Tiles have been ripped off roofs while countless trees didn’t survive the night. Images from the coastal resorts speak for themselves.

Together with East Flanders the coast and other parts of West Flanders Province bore the brunt of Storm Odette. The storm meant rain and gusty conditions in western parts.  Wind speeds of 115 km/h were recorded at the Zeebrugge naval base.  Between 15 and 45 litres of rainfall per square metre were not exceptional. That’s the amount usually recorded over three weeks.  More rain and possible flooding are forecast for Saturday night.  Fire services on the coast say the storm is not yet over and people should stay indoors. Gusts of up to 110 km/h are forecast for this afternoon, up to 80 km/h on Saturday night.

In Middelkerke a wall blew away seriously injuring one man.  In Nieuwpoort pedestrians had to be treated for cuts and bruises. Elsewhere in West Flanders three fire fighters were injured when they were trying to deal with an uprooted tree.

1,200 fire service interventions on the coast set a new record.  As a result of the abundant rain and gusty conditions numerous trees were uprooted.  Many ended up blocking roads.

Buildings saw roof tiles ripped off.  Windows were shattered. Temporary road signs blew away as did fences and bits of pavement cafes. In Blankenberge a jetty with twenty boats came loose, while the coast tram got stuck due to sand on the track.

Flooding’s been reported from East Flanders and Walloon Brabant.

The 1722 helpline has been activated for non-life-threatening emergencies.

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