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Some unexpected effects of the heatwave


The news speaks of little else these days: record temperatures, measures against wasting water while still drinking enough, the ongoing heatwave (we’ve had two in one month) is the story of the summer, when all other stories seem to disappear. But here are some aspects of the heat that may be more unexpected:
Sales of bottled water have never been so good, as reported by Spadel (Spa and Bru), Coca Cola (Chaudfontaine) and Nestle (Valvert). Luckily for them, none of the producers appears to have a problem with supply resulting in a record sales month for July, with volumes up by 40% on a normal July month;

On the other hand, lovers of Croky potato chips, the second biggest-selling brand in the country, may find supermarket stocks running low, thanks to a potato shortage across Europe because of the drought. Belgians eat an average of four kilos of chips a year;

Another consequence for chips-lovers: the skin on potatoes grown in dry conditions is too rough to be handled by the peeling machines used by chips manufacturers, so even those potato that are available are less than optimum;

The Limburg heathland will not be taking on its usual picturesque purple colour this year at about the middle of this month, again as a result of the long dry period. Even if it were to rain constantly now, the damage for this year is done. There will be fewer insects which live on the nectar of the flowers, and fewer birds that feed on the insects. But the plants are hardy and live in inhospitable conditions, and things should be back to normal next year, an expert said; 

Shoppers at Delhaize supermarkets may find a shortage of their favourite chocolate products, thanks to the heat. “Our stores are cool enough, but the lorries aren’t,” a spokesperson said. Existing in-store stocks are safe, but the chain refuses to guarantee 100% quality for new deliveries. 

If your house renovations are taking longer than expected, blame the weather. Some construction companies are working lower hours or not at all while the heatwave holds on, because of the effect on workers, and because of ancillary effects, such as the fact that concrete dries too fast in the heat, making the pouring of floors impossible, while the glue used in roof work also dries before materials can be properly placed.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times