Belgium has been placed under yellow alert after heavy showers, and lightning storms swept through the country this weekend, prompting an emergency evacuation from a retirement home and bringing rail traffic to a standstill in the early hours of Monday after lightning struck a section of the rails.
Train traffic on the Brussels-Namur rail line had to be interrupted after a rail was hit by lightning and flooded under the heavy rain. A dozen rail workers managed to clear out the way at around 2:45 AM and trains went back into circulation at approximately 5:30 AM.
Emergency services in Wallonia responded to no less than 200 calls on Sunday, where many roads became blocked under landslides, and the rainfall flooded residents’ homes. Most of the calls originated in the cities of Gembloux and Éghezée, as well as in the village of Spy, and emergency response services worked well into the night, until around 23:00, according to reports.
In Flanders, the province of Limburg was also affected by the intense rainfall, as it had been put under orange alert at the weekend. Residents from a nursing home in the city of Bree had to be evacuated when the building became severely flooded, and emergency services responded to severe flooding in other parts of the city.
A representative from a regional meteorological institute told local media that the rainfall had reached exceptional levels.
“In 73 minutes time, 75 litres of water per square metre fell,” Nicolaas Roose of Noodweer Benelux said. “That’s an awful lot when you know that only 65 litres fall from the sky every month.”
On Monday, the Royal Meteorological Institute declared nation-wide yellow alert, warning that the heavy rains would make way for thick fogs during the day, particularly in the Ardennes region.