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Belgium could see a ‘cold wave’ as temperatures stay below freezing all week

15:03 08/02/2021
Think of the birds, says wildlife expert, who encourages more feeding to help smaller species survive

Those of you enamoured with the snow on the ground and rooftops will be happy to know that it will stick around for the next few days. That’s because temperatures will not rise above freezing until the weekend.

It will get to a frigid -9°C for the next four nights in the Brussels area, with the lows staying well below zero for the foreseeable future. Daytime highs will stay below zero until at least Saturday – when 1°C is predicted.

Next Sunday and Monday should hover around 4°C, when snow could melt away. After that, temperatures are predicted to drop again, but with highs remaining above freezing.

The temperatures in some places in Belgium are expected to drop to lows of -15C by Wednesday night. The country could even be looking at a ‘cold wave’ this week, designated when the average temperature does not rise above freezing for five days straight and when it is below -10°C for three of those nights. The last cold wave was in 2012.

The northern parts of Belgium got the most snow, with areas bordering the Netherlands seeing up to 10 centimetres this weekend. Residents are advised to drive only if necessary this week, with roads turning icy.

Feathered friends

It turns out that humans are not the only ones feeling the biting cold: Natuurpunt is asking citizens to help feed the smaller species of birds, who often have a hard time finding enough food under layers of snow and ice.

“Garden species such as tits and finches have a body temperature of about 40°C,” Koen Leysen of the environmental organisation told VRT. “It’s not an easy task to maintain that in this freezing cold with a wind chill of 15 below zero.”

In these temperatures, if smaller birds do not find food in the first two hours of the morning, he says, they can easily die. “We can and we must help them. It is a matter of life and death.”

Leysen suggests not just filling up the bird feeder, but scattering seeds on the ground or a terrace. Bits of apple are also a welcome change from birdseed, as are peanuts. And it’s the perfect time to provide birds with suet cakes, which can be made or bought and hung from trees or terrace railings.

But don’t worry about water, he assures. The birds ingest snow just fine.

Photo ©Getty Images

Written by Lisa Bradshaw