Winds up to 110 km/h: what’s the storm damage in Belgium?
Thursday, 11 March 2021
Credit: Robert Dekock/Brussels Fire Brigade
The strong winds ripping through Belgium on Thursday that have caused a lot of damage across the country, and even resulted in the death of one person, have now officially been classified as a storm.
The head of forecasting at the Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI), David Dehenauw, told the Belga news agency on Thursday afternoon that we can officially speak of a storm, even though it has not been named yet.
“We have remained in code yellow, the name change only happens from code orange,” Denehauw said. “The name Lola is circulating, but it is not official.”
With wind gusts of up to 110 km/h, the storm also caused a lot of material damage throughout the country. The authorities have temporarily activated the 1722 number, which people can call if they need help from the fire service, but their lives are not in danger.
According to Denehauw, the worst of it should be over now, but gusts of 60 to 80 km/h are still expected throughout the day.
Across the Brussels-Capital Region, parks and cemeteries have been closed as a precautionary measure, but the winds have still caused or a lot of issues.
“The Brussels fire brigade has already received 24 calls related to the wind,” Brussels fire brigade spokesperson Walter Derieuw said in an update.
“We are now working on some 15 addresses There are 17, less urgent, calls on the waiting list,” he added.
It concerns three uprooted trees, and 21 objects (such as gutters, tarpaulins, windows, roof tiles) that got loose and were a danger for the users of the public road, according to Derieuw.
In the municipality of Aalter, in the East Flanders province, a tree fell on two people passing by on foot. One person did not survive, the other was taken severely injured and taken to hospital, report local media.
Additionally, especially in West Flanders, the fire brigade was overwhelmed by hundreds of calls. In the municipality of Roeselare, the roof of a school was blown off, but no one was injured.
In the town of Zonhoven, in the province of Limburg, a large tent for a horse-riding club was blown away. Normally, the tent is used for lessons for children, but the tent was already closed. No one was injured, but the destruction of the terrain was considerable.
Additionally, many parks, forests and public places in Belgium remained closed as a precaution. In Antwerp, the vaccination village Spoor Oost was also temporarily closed due to the strong wind.
In the municipality of Gembloux in the Namur province, firefighters were called as part of one of the walls of a large building collapsed on a road, and other walls are threatening to (partly) collapse as well, according to reports.
Trees fell on roads across the Region, and fire services in the Walloon Brabant province were called many times on Thursday. Around 2:30 PM, the calls had “largely exceeded” a manageable number of 30, an official of the emergency centre told the Belga press agency.
It mainly concerned the clearing of trees and branches that were obstructing roads or threatening homes, as well as objects that had become loose.