As of Thursday, the federal "ozone and heatwave plan' will come into effect" in anticipation of temperatures surpassing 32°C on Monday and Tuesday next week, the Belgian Interregional Environment Agency (IRCEL) announced.
The agency stated that the temperature indicator used within the framework of the ozone and heat plan has been exceeded, referring to the fact that temperatures above 28°C are forecast for Monday 18 July in Uccle, the agency's reference station.
"The Royal Meteorological Institute (KMI) is predicting warm to very warm weather for the next few days. The warning phase of the federal ozone and heat plan and the Flemish heat action plan will be activated as of today, Thursday, 14 July, 2022," IRCEL wrote on Twitter.
In the coming days, the ozone concentrations in Belgium are expected to be normal for the time of year and exceedances of the European information threshold of 180 μg/m3 are not predicted, the agency said.
However, if the situation evolves and "exceeds the information threshold which is predicted or measured at a later date, this will be communicated via separate warning messages."
What does this mean?
Following a severe heat wave in the summer of 2003, several countries devised action plans to respond quickly with appropriate measures to reduce the health impact of high temperatures and ozone concentrations on vulnerable individuals.
In response to this heat wave, "heat wave action plans" were drawn up by several countries to better manage crisis situations like the one in 2003.
"The purpose of these plans is to be able to react quickly with appropriate measures to reduce the health impact of high temperatures and ozone concentrations among at-risk groups (and by extension the entire population)," IRCEL explains on its website.
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Since 2005, Belgium has had a three-phase plan called the "Ozone and heat plan," which uses both temperature and ozone thresholds, to warn people of possible upcoming conditions they should be paying attention to.