Trains and flights cancelled, one person injured by storm Ciara

Summary

The storm currently moving through Belgium has caused a great deal of damaged and seriously injured a woman when a tree fell on her car

Worst is over

As stormy weather continues today and strong winds throughout the week, the worst is definitely over, according to meteorologists. Several trains and flights out of Brussels Airport have been cancelled and some schools are closed today due to storm Ciara, which blasted through Belgium yesterday and into the night.

The motorway commute went more smoothly this morning than expected, but the rail system is seeing a number of cancellations and late trains. More than 30 train routes have been cancelled, while most other routes are running late because the trains were forced to limit their speed.

By 9.00, however, speeds were pretty much back to normal. Passengers are asked to check their own routes, as cancellations and delays could last throughout the day.

The same is true for flights out of Brussels Airport. Nearly 60 flights were cancelled yesterday, and 14 meant to fly out this morning have also been cancelled.

Drama in East Flanders

As expected, storm Ciara, which saw peaks yesterday afternoon and evening, caused a great deal of damage to roofs and trees. Limburg and East Flanders were particularly hard hit.

Emergency workers in Limburg received more than 1,000 calls to the storm helpline. A street in As had to be closed off to traffic as trees had fallen on power lines. Limburg saw large sections of roofs blown off and garden walls crumbling, forcing some residents to evacuate. Several schools in the province decided to close today, generally those located in forested areas.

In Ghent, residents of Gasmeterlaan witnessed a dramatic event as a scaffolding came crashing down from the side of a building. It fell straight over, laying across the busy street, blocking traffic for hours.

Also in East Flanders, a woman was seriously injured when a tree fell on her car. She had just gotten in the car, which was in her driveway, when the tree uprooted and fell on top of it. The fire department had to saw pieces from the tree and lift it from the car before emergency workers could reach the woman. She was taken to hospital with a head injury and broken bones.

In Antwerp, several containers at the port toppled over, and some streets were flooded, including the tunnel under the Berchem train station. Antwerp emergency services saw some 700 calls come in from residents, most of them due to flooding.

Storm Ciara saw winds up to 120kph. Citizens are asked to continue avoiding forested areas for the next few days, as strong winds will continue until at least Wednesday.

Photo: Storm Ciara brought down the outer wall of an apartment building in Sint-Gillis-Waas, East Flanders
©Courtesy VRT