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Thunderstorms cause havoc across Belgium, 92 homes severely damaged by "small tornado" in Beauraing

Heavy downpours triggered floods in parts of Flanders last night. In Wallonia, strong gusts of wind caused a lot of damage in the municipality of Beauraing, where there are reports of 17 injured people. Beauraing is talking of a "mini-tornado".  As many as 92 houses were severely damaged, 10 have been declared unfit for habitation. Over a dozen cars were damaged.  

Beauraing, a town in Namur province, was hardest hit. The local disaster plan was started after what local authorities are labelling as "a small tornado". 17 people sustained light injuries and some 90 homes were heavily damaged, Beauraing announced in a press report. The local cultural centre offers shelter for those that sustained damage. 

Several people got injured when an outdoor construction at a café terrace was swept away by a gust of wind. "The wind was incredibly strong. Houses and cars got damaged, trees were uprooted", Beauraing Mayor Marc Lejeune told the Francophone public broadcaster RTBF. 

The VRT's weather presenter Frank Deboosere thinks this phenomenon can be either a local tornado or a strong downwind, triggered by the enormous downpour that created a downward air movement.

The following footage shows the damage in Beauraing (text continues below the video):

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In Rochefort, not far from Beauraing, a dozen houses and also one church lost their roof due to heavy winds. In Saint-Servais, near Namur city centre, a house was set ablaze when it was struck by lightning. 

Hainaut province had various reports of floods, around Péruwelz, Leuze-en-Hainaut and Lessines. Fire services made about 40 interventions, but nobody got injured. 

The local thunderstorms also caused damage in East Flanders, in the Oosterzele, Wetteren and Aalst region. Fire services got about 90 calls to intervene, often because cellars had got inundated. 

The Met Office expects more blustery showers and possibly heavy gusts of wind on Sunday evening. 

Pictures below show the damage in Beauraing:

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