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Storm Eunice: Orange warning for Belgium in severe weather forecast
An orange weather warning has been issued by the Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI) as Storm Eunice sweeps across the country.
Strong wind and rain are forecast from Friday afternoon with people advised to stay indoors and avoid travelling. Coastal areas and the northern part of Belgium will initially bear the brunt of the bad weather.
A number of schools in Western Flanders and Antwerp Province, as well as the University of Antwerp, decided to close early on Friday afternoon due to the storm threat.
Some train services in Flanders are not running and flights from Brussels Airport to Manchester, UK, and Schipol in the Netherlands have been cancelled. But the storm has so far had a limited effect on flights, according to airport spokesperson Ihasane Chioua Lekhli.
Parks and cemeteries in Brussels have been closed with the Bois de la Cambre closed to traffic until Sunday at 18.00.
RMI meteorologist David Dehenauw said the weather warning was close to going from orange to red. He warned that there was a very local risk of gusts of more than 130kph, which meant some local areas risked code red.
“To trigger code red, there must be at least a 65% chance that gusts will reach 130kph or more over a sufficiently large area,” he added.
Nationwide, the 1722 phone helpline has been activated. The hotline should be used for non-life-threatening situations in order to take the pressure off of the 112 emergency number,
The worst of the wind and rain is expected to ease by 23.00 on Friday. Temperatures remain mild for the season, between 9° and 13°.
This article was updated at 13.15 due to the unfolding situation