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Tuesday’s storm in Belgium “one of the worst in years”

The provinces of East Flanders, Flemish Brabant and Antwerp took the brunt of the storm. Some 30,000 bolts of lightning gave a spectacular sound and light show.

The damage caused by the storm was considerable in places, with uprooted trees, damaged roofs and flooded cellars, fire from lightning and a train was blown off the track by gales of wind.

Many roads and stretches of motorway had to be closed off due to debris. In East Flanders the lightning shortcircuited the motorway lighting and struck several houses. 

In Antwerp a huge tree fell on a villa causing major damage and the inhabitants narrowly escaped death as the tree crashed through the roof into the master bedroom.

In total there were some 30,000 lightning strikes. An estimated 10,000 lightening bolts struck objects or the ground, the others dissipated before reaching the surface. In Halle, near Brussels, lightning set a house on fire.

The fire department was called out in several places because cellars were flooded and roofs damaged. In some places hailstones the size of golf balls and bigger fell.

Train traffic was also disrupted in many places, especially in the province of Hainault. In Lillo (Antwerp province) a goods train was blown off the tracks. In Kortrijk lightning struck a signal box.

"This was one of the worst storms we have had in years," says VRT weather forecaster Frank Deboosere.