From heatwave to downpour. Even the ducks are walking in northern Europe today as torrential rains have brought flooding and transport chaos to several regions. Belgium is one of the worst hit, where the rain began overnight and got steadily worse throughout the morning. The work for rescue services began just before midnight, but they were rapidly swamped by the number of distress calls. It is the same story in northern France, with many major roads in and around Lille flooded, and rainfall beating 100-year old records. Motorway and rail traffic has been severely disrupted, and several campsites had to be evacuated in a hurry as water swirled around holidaymakers’ knees.
Storms have also swept the Netherlands, where despite their superior water management skills, the situation has been very difficult. Zeeland in the southwest was the worst affected, with roads cut, emergency evacuations hurriedly conducted, and campsites washed away. Schipol airport was badly disrupted, with only 40 aircraft an hour instead of the usual 70 able to take off. Agriculture has also been hit hard, with many cash crops underwater that may not be able to be saved.