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Belgian postmen collect weather data during rounds
Belgian meteorologists are experimenting with a new tool to make weather forecasts more accurate - postmen.
A team of 30 Bpost delivery workers in Antwerp have had equipment installed in their vans to begin collecting hyperlocal weather data during their daily rounds, in what is claimed to be a European first.
The Royal Meteorological Institute (IRM) hopes the readings will build up a better picture of weather trends in parts of the country that have not been fully measured until now.
On-board sensors will record local temperatures, humidity, rain and brightness - and also track when the driver uses his or her windscreen wipers or fog lights.
"We do not have weather stations and radars in every town and city," said IRM spokesman Alex Dewlaque. "Hail and fog, for example, are very localised, so it's hard to measure them if you do not have an observer at that location."
He added: "In cities there are also too many high buildings to measure rainfall and winds properly. That's where Bpost's delivery drivers can help us."
If successful, the experiment could be extended elsewhere in Belgium - but Bpost said it could take 10 years before enough data is gathered to reliably map the weather in an individual street or neighbourhood.