Heatwave: Yesterday Belgium’s hottest day of the year to date
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    Heatwave: Yesterday Belgium’s hottest day of the year to date

    © Belga
    Visitors to the beach basking in the sunshine yesterday.
    © Belga

    Recording 32.5 degrees celsius in Uccle, yesterday (Thursday) was, to date, the hottest day of the year. David Dehenauw, the meteorologist at the Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI), confirmed this yesterday. Uccle is considered as the benchmark for the entire country. Higher values were, in fact, recorded locally.

    The day’s record was established Zelzate (East Flanders) with a temperature of 34.7 degrees. The bar of 30 degrees was cleared right across the country, with the exception of Saint-Hubert (in the province of Luxembourg) and Mont Rigi (a locality in Waimes in the province of Liège).

    David Dehenauw does not expect that this record will be beaten today (Friday), however this may yet come to pass on Saturday. We may speak of a heatwave here, or five consecutive days where the temperature hit above 25 degrees Celsius, of which three were above 30 degrees Celsius.

    “If this indeed proves to be a heatwave, it will be the first time, since 1942, that it has happened so late in the year. That year it lasted from 26th August to 31st August.

    The hottest day ever for the end of August was recorded on 26th August 2001 with 32.9 degrees Celsius.

    Moreover, ozone concentrations exceeded data threshold of 180 µg/m³ (known as Dobson units) in three locations yesterday. This is posted on the Interregional Environment Cell website (known appositely as CELINE). At 8.00 p.m., Moerkerke (in Damme, East Flanders) recorded 181 µg/m³. The two other locations where this ozone was outstripped were Berendrecht and Schoten, in the Antwerp province, with respectively 182 µg/m³ at 5.00 p.m. and 188 µg/m³ at 6.00 p.m.

    The generous sunshine and increased temperatures, coupled with light and moderate winds and the accumulation of pollutants are the cause of abundant ozone formation. The latter may cause respiratory difficulties, eye irritation and respiratory pathways, or even coughs amongst the most highly sensitive.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times