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    Heavy weather caused traffic chaos across Belgium


    Heavy rains and storm conditions led to traffic chaos across Belgium on Thursday, the third day in a row of the Code Orange announced by the Royal Meteorological Institute. Meanwhile on Friday, train traffic between Leuven and Brussels Airport was still at a standstill as rainwater was being pumped away. Elsewhere in the country, mud was still being cleared up.

    Traffic on the E40 around Brussels was held up for up to 90 minutes as a combination of heavy rain and drains blocked by grass cuttings from the roadside verges. Both carriageways were flooded. Elsewhere in the area of the capital, the Georges Henri tunnel was flooded, as was the Romeinsesteenweg under the A12 bridge.

    In Zoersel in Antwerp province a house roof caught fire after being struck by lightning. Aalter, Zingem, Zwalm, Ursel and Eeklo in East Flanders all suffered flooding, with passengers at Aalter station forced to wade through puddles to reach their trains.

    At Clavier and Ouffet in Liege province, drinking waters were declared unsafe as a result of contamination from rainwater. The civil protection service laid on water tankers for the local population.

    On Friday, the Leuven-Airport line was still down as The Brussels Times went to press. Travellers were advised to take the train to Zaventem station instead, or to travel to Brussels North station, from where the airport service was operating normally.
    Update: The rail infrastructure authority Infrabel announced that the line from Leuven to the airport would remain closed until Monday 4 June. 

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times