Belgium activates warning phase of heatwave plan amid rising temperatures
As temperatures continue to climb in Belgium this week, the country has activated the warning phase for its high heat and ozone peaks plan.
The mercury is expected to climb past 25°C over the next several days, even reaching 34°C on Saturday in many places in the country, according to forecasts from the Belgian Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI).
The warning phase of the Belgian heatwave plan is automatically activated when temperatures exceed 25°C, as they did yesterday and as they are predicted to continue to do so for the next several days.
It encourages the general public as well as health and personal care professionals to be vigilant and to check that people are properly hydrated and temperatures inside buildings are adequately cool.
People are especially urged to check-in with those who may be vulnerable to excessive heat, such as the elderly, the chronically ill, or babies and children.
From Friday onwards, the maximum temperature will continue to climb in Belgium, passing 28°C in Uccle, where the RMI weather station records temperatures. It is forecast to peak on Saturday before thunderstorms bring gradually cooler weather.
“Ozone concentrations will increase, but the European information threshold of 180µg/m³ is not expected to be exceeded,” the Interregional Environment Unit (CELINE) has stated.
A specific meteorological information bulletin will be issued if an exceedance is expected or identified in the next few days.
Heatwaves have become more common in Europe in recent years, which experts agree is the result of climate change.
A 2003 heatwave in Europe resulted in 70,000 deaths across the continent, with a few thousand of those occurring in Belgium.
Last year’s heatwaves were particularly dangerous, as many vulnerable people were isolated due to the coronavirus pandemic and the healthcare professionals who would normally check on them were busy with vaccination campaigns.