Heavy rain forecast in Belgium for the weekend

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The government of the Walloon region in Belgium has warned that vigilance is needed this weekend because of weather forecasts predicting potentially intense and stormy rainfall.

“The Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI) announced new rainfall expectations for the 24th and 25th of July,” the Directorate-General for Waterways said on the official website.

“This rainfall could be intense and accompanied by thunderstorms. There could be runoff, saturation of sewage systems and overflowing of small rivers.”

Forecasts are expected to be refined over the next 24 hours, and the Directorate-General emphasised that vigilance is particularly important because of the lingering damage from the massive, historic flooding that occurred last week.

“As far as the larger rivers are concerned, the amounts forecast so far should not be sufficient to cause flooding; however, the greatest vigilance is required,” said the Directorate-General.

“The presence of blockades, destruction of banks and protection walls, etc. could cause localised overflows in unusual places and at unusual heights.”

The warning comes just after an investigation by Het Laatste Nieuws revealed that the Belgian authorities received 25 warnings of severe weather on the way ahead of the historic floods, yet appears to have done nothing until the last minute.

Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden called the floods in large parts of Belgium at the end of last week “one of the greatest natural disasters our country has ever known.”

Photo: Destruction after heavy rains caused flooding in Theux, Belgium. EPA-EFE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

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