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    Belgium faces its first heatwave of the year

    Credit: Belga

    With temperatures expected to fluctuate around 30 degrees over the coming days, experts have warned that Belgium is likely going through its first heatwave of the year.

    To be able to speak of a heatwave, the temperature has to stay higher than 25 degrees for five consecutive days, of which three have to be tropical (meaning, warmer than 30 degrees).

    “It is all quite theoretical,” weather reporter Frank Deboosere told Het Nieuwsblad. “It does not count as a heatwave if it is 32 degrees for two days, and three times 29.5 degrees. For your feeling, however, the name does not make much of a difference,” he added.

    Friday will be the hottest day of the week, with temperatures up to 32 degrees, with possible thunder in the evening. On Saturday, it will cool down a bit (27-28 degrees) with some showers.

    “By Sunday, the big heat should be over, with temperatures up to 24 degrees,” weather reporter Sabine Hagedoren told VRT. “By Saturday night, we may be able to officially speak of a heatwave,” she said, adding that it would be the first one this year.

    However, whether or not the conditions to speak of a heatwave will be met, drinking enough water is essential in these temperatures, warned Deboosere.

    “And definitely seek shelter from the heat. Whether it’s 29.8 degrees or 30.1 degrees makes no difference for that,” he added.

    Last year, Belgium experienced three heat waves. On 25 July (2019), during a short and very intense heatwave, the temperature measured in Uccle climbed to an unprecedented maximum of 39.7 degrees Celsius, smashing the 1947 record by more than 3 degrees.

    Brussels activates heatwave plan

    The city of Brussels has activated its heatwave plan, calling on vulnerable groups to register in advance, via the 0800 35 550 phone number.

    Registering ensures good protection in case of high heat. The heatwave plan of the community centres comes into effect when temperatures rise above 28 degrees.

    The community centres offer a wide range of social services to the inhabitants of the city of Brussels, and will regularly contact the registered people, distribute pitchers and canteens. Additionally, they have special teams that will visit the registered people to check on their well-being and living conditions.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times