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Weather office issues orange heatwave warning from Monday, temperatures could rise to 38°C
The Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI) has issued an orange code heat warning for Monday and Tuesday as temperatures are set to soar to record-breaking highs.
While Sunday is likely to see maximum highs of 25 to 28 degrees, temperatures are expected to climb to 36°C on Monday and 39°C on Tuesday, when some trains will be cancelled due to the risk of buckled tracks and fires.
Technically, a heatwave is declared with five days at 25°C or more, including three days at least 30°C. But the RMI is recommending people take precautions against the extreme heat due to Monday and Tuesday’s predicted searing temperatures.
Bright sunshine and a relative freshness on Monday will quickly be replaced by summer heat during the morning. Under a blazing sun and with the arrival of very hot air from France, temperatures will become tropical in the afternoon, with peaks of 35 degrees near Tournai.
Tuesday will be the hottest day of the week and perhaps the summer with the mercury soaring between 34 and 38 degrees.
Wednesday is a different story with a change of air mass bringing an end to the scorching heat. Showers may arrive in some areas and there will be a return to seasonal temperatures of 23 to 28°C. Thunderstorms are expected during the night.
More than 30 peak hour trains to be cancelled on Tuesday
Some 34 peak hour trains (P trains) will be cancelled on Tuesday due to the expected very high temperatures, SNCB said in a press release. The preventive measure is to guarantee safety on the network and offer more comfort to passengers, according to the national rail operator.
Heatwaves can cause technical failures in both rolling stock and network infrastructure. Rail tracks can heat up to 20°C higher than the atmospheric temperature, which can cause the metal to expand. High temperatures also potentially cause electrical problems and fire risks.
The 34 trains reinforcing morning and evening rush hour services, will not circulate because their parking zone is in full sun or because their equipment is too sensitive to extreme heat.
"The repair teams will also be reinforced. The technical team service, with particular attention to experts in ventilation and air conditioning installations, has been extended," said SNCB.