Weather: Temperatures in Belgium climb to 30℃ this week

Weather: Temperatures in Belgium climb to 30℃  this week
Brussels parc de Wolvendael. The region is looking to create more open, green spaces. Credit: Ugo Realfonzo

This week, temperatures are forecast to hit 30°C in Belgium after a sunny and warm weekend.

The Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium predicts a cloudy start to the week with the chance of localized thunderstorms, especially in the east of the country.

Monday evening will be mostly dry with a low of 19℃ and a high of 25℃. Tuesday brings more clouds and a chance of showers with mild temperatures, but Wednesday’s high is 28-30℃.

Thursday and Friday are looking balmy with higher chances of thunderstorms before the weather cools slightly for the weekend.

Unusually good weather

The long dry period is the result of a slow-moving area of high pressure – a 'standstill' that is largely caused by the slowing of the gulf stream.

“The good weather of the past few weeks is the result of a 'blockage,' which occurs when a high-pressure area is, as it were, stuck,” said Wim Thiery, professor of climate science at the VUB.

“The high-pressure area remains in place, with the result that it doesn't rain for weeks on end. The last word has not yet been said on this, but there are more studies indicating that climate change increases the chance of such a blockage.”

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When record temperatures (of up to almost 50 degrees Celsius) were recorded in Canada and the US last year, a high-pressure area was also trapped. Evidence suggests that such an extreme heatwave would have been virtually impossible without climate change.

Last year's wet summer in Western Europe, with the floods in Wallonia, was the other side of the same coin: a large area of rain stayed over Belgium and parts of the Netherlands and Germany.

Researchers were able to show afterwards that the probability of such intense rain has clearly increased due to the effects of climate change.

Marijke Huysmans, professor of hydrogeology at the VUB, warned on Twitter this weekend that Belgians should not think the drought is solved when it rains this week: “Good news, it is going to rain next week. Not enough at all to eliminate the precipitation deficit of course, but we all know what happens to the attention for the drought problem as soon as it rains a few drops.”

Experts fear Belgium will have difficult months ahead. According to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, the country will have a warm and dry summer rather than a cold and wet one.

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