The Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI) has issued a forecast of a heatwave from Wednesday this week, and the country’s heat and ozone plan has entered its warning phase.
Monday will see a temperature high of 22 degrees and 18-19 at the coast, while Tuesday temperatures will vary between 20 and 23 degrees.
“Wednesday will be dry and sunny. It will be warmer again with maximums of 24 or 25 degrees on the heights of the Ardennes and 27 or 28 degrees in the centre of the country. The wind will be light to moderate from south-south-east to south-south-west,” the RMI reports.
Maximum temperatures are then expected to increase to 33 on Thursday and 35 on Friday before hitting a high of 37 on Saturday and 35 on Sunday.
But with the good news comes the bad. The Interregional Environment Agency Ircel/Celine has issued a warning of “high temperatures and ozone peaks” beginning yesterday (Sunday).
Ozone peaks are caused by a combination of high temperatures sustained sunlight acting on air pollution. It was not yet possible yesterday to say whether the European warning threshold of 180 micrograms of particles per cubic metre of air would be passed.
The warning phase is triggered when the RMI forecasts temperatures of more than 30 degrees in the days to come, and serves to inform health professionals and the general public to be extra vigilant regarding availability of drinking water, indoor temperatures and the situation of vulnerable groups such as the elderly, the chronically ill and babies and children.
“We are heading for a major heat wave,” said Frank Deboosere, weatherman for the Flemish public broadcaster VRT.
“Next week Friday, Saturday, Sunday and then the Monday and Tuesday after we’ll even have tropical warm summer weather with maximums every day towards 35 degrees.”
His colleague David Dehenauw, speaking on RTL TV concurred.
A heatwave, he said, “is confirmed by the models. It will start from Wednesday. To have a heat wave, you must have 5 consecutive days with maximums of 25 degrees or more [at the RMI measuring station in Uccle], including three days of 30 degrees. We will have a heat wave next Sunday. Then, we have to wait for the first day below 25 degrees to end the heatwave. I think it could last a good week.”