Shops closing early, fewer trams and trains: Belgium prepares for two hot days

Shops closing early, fewer trams and trains: Belgium prepares for two hot days
Today, temperatures are set to rise to 36°C in Belgium. BELGA PHOTO VIRGINIE LEFOUR

As temperatures will be nearing 40°C today and tomorrow, many shops will close a little earlier, fewer trams and trains will run, and waste will be collected a bit earlier in the morning in many places in Belgium.

The temperatures will rise to 35°C on Monday, and even higher to 39-40°C on Tuesday. As cooling down at the beach is not an option for everyone, here is an overview of some precautionary measures being taken.

Shops closing earlier

According to the professional bakers Bakkers Vlaanderen federation, many bakers will not be open for as long as usual on Monday and Tuesday. The supply will also be more limited.

Working near ovens in these temperatures is particularly difficult, and the federation expects that many customers will stay away during the hottest hours of the day in any case.

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Butchers and caterers are also advised to stay closed longer in the afternoon, as the trade association expects customers to stay away during the hottest hours of the day.

Some flower shops across the country will remain closed, as they announced that cut flowers and extreme heat are not an ideal combination.

Smaller, local shops may also decide to remain closed or close early, but supermarkets will stay open like usual.

Fewer trains and trams

This weekend, the SCNB announced that it cancelled 34 peak-hour trains on Tuesday. This mainly concerns train sets that are parked in full sunlight during the day or older train stock that is more sensitive to extreme heat. On Monday, no changes were announced.

In Antwerp, De Lijn will be cancelling services on both Monday and Tuesday on a number of tramlines that are operated with the older PCC trams.

Specifically, this will affect lines 11 (Berchem-Melkmarkt), 4 (Hoboken-Groenplaats-Silsburg), 7 (Mortsel-Eilandje) and 24 (Havenhuis-Silsburg). No problems are expected on the coast or in Ghent, where only modern trams are operated.

Other precautions

In various places, including Antwerp and various places in Flemish Brabant, the collection of household waste is brought forward by an hour to spare the staff.

The Interregional Cell for the Environment (IRCEL) expects the ozone threshold to be exceeded on Monday afternoon and Tuesday, meaning it is better not to make any great physical efforts. More information will be made available on its website.

There may also be too much smog in the air. If a smog alert is issued, speed on motorways will be limited to 90 km/h.

In any case, the Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI) has announced a code orange for both days. On Monday, the coast (code green) and the provinces of Namur and Liège (code yellow) will not be affected, but on Tuesday, the whole country will be in an orange zone.

This is what the RMI recommended during a code orange for heat:

  • Drink regularly
  • Wear light clothing
  • Spend the day in cooler places
  • Regularly monitor your state of health
  • Eat easily digestible food (and in smaller portions)
  • Keep doors and windows closed to keep out the heat

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