"Ciara", the first storm of the year, with a lot of rain and wind gusts up to 100 and even 120 km/h, has been predicted to hit Belgium on Sunday.
The Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium (RMI) issued code yellow, which means lots of rain and heavy wind gusts, for the whole country from Sunday afternoon to Monday morning.
If the current predictions will be confirmed on Saturday, the RMI will switch to code orange, in which case people are expected to follow the authorities' advice on how to handle the storm.
These are a few tips to protect yourself and your property.
Before the storm
Check that there are no loose roof tiles or gutters.
Check that the gutters are not clogged up.
Bring in anything that might get blown away or attach it (flower pots, garden furniture, dustbins...).
Cut dead branches from trees near your house.
Make sure your pets are inside.
Do not put garbage bags outside to be collected before Monday morning.
Close windows and doors.
During the storm
Stay inside if you can, but if you have to go outside:
Stay away from parks, woods and trees.
Drive on main roads and avoid routes through a forest.
Do not park near trees and do not drive on submerged roads.
Turn on your dipped headlights.
Adapt your driving speed, keep enough distance and avoid sudden braking.
After the storm
In case of damage, take as many photos as possible and keep a record of damaged items for insurance purposes.
Look up evidence, such as bills, of damaged goods to help determine the value or residual value.
Do not touch cables or pipes that have fallen to the ground, they may still be live.
Do not get on the roof to fix storm damage yourself, call roof workers or the fire brigade.
Cut branches or chop down trees that are in danger of falling.
The Brussels Times