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    Belgian heat wave: July was record breaking month

    Belgium faced new record breaking temperatures in July last year. Credit: © Belga

    With temperatures topping 40°C during a brief but very intense heatwave, July was a record-breaking month, the Royal Meteorological Institute noted in its latest monthly climate report.

    Yet, the average temperature for the month was just a bit higher than normal – 19.5°C, as against 18.4°C.

    The first part of July (1-16) was rather cool, with temperatures practically all below the monthly norm in Uccle. However, the weather made an about-turn from the 17th, with extremely high readings from the 23rd to the 26th, before ending the month with scores just about normal.

    “Although the average temperature does not reflect it, we experienced an extremely intense heatwave from the 22nd to the 26th,” the IRM indicated. “Towards the end of the month, the heatwave was brief (5 days), but there were four days with highs far above 30°C,” in Uccle.

    Also in Uccle, a high of 39.7°C was registered on the 25th of July, way above the previous record of 36.6°C set in June 1947. (Measurements began in 1901.)  On the same day, record lows were also registered, with temperatures dropping to only 23.5°C (as against 22.3°C on 18 June 2002).

    Record highs were also registered elsewhere in the country. In fact, “the heat was stifling throughout the country on the 25th,” according to the IRM, which said, “highs of at least 40°C were recorded in over 50 stations and a new all-time record was set in Begijnendijk, with 41.8°C.”

    “On the same day the all-time record for maximum temperatures was broken in some 100 stations for which we already have July statements,” IRM disclosed.

    The high temperatures come as no surprise since the sun shone for 237 hours and 17 minutes at Uccle in July, way above the monthly norm of 200 hours and 42 minutes.

    For its part, the wind attained an average speed of 2.9 metres per second (m/s). The norm is 3.2 m/s.

    There was also less rain than usual with Uccle receiving 52.8 mm, whereas the average is 73.5 mm, and only 7 rainy days were recorded, as against the average of 14.3.

    “More than half of this total fell on the 27th when 31.8 mm were registered,” IRM stated. “During the first ten days of the month, there was no rain at Uccle, as in 1985,” added the royal met. Office, which noted further that there were thunderstorms on nine days, way below the norm of 13.3 days.

    Oscar Schneider

    The Brussels Times