TOPLINE Congestion on Europe’s inland waterways has been maintained at an all-time low since April 20, but two shipwrecks continue to cause delays near Liege, and new storms threaten the area.
- On July 26, the Belgian Institute of Meteorology (IRM) issued a thunderstorm warning.
- Two weeks ago, storms that produced 48 hours of heavy rain forced Liege to close the container port for several days. The flash flood also sank two ships near the Liege container port.
- Dutch authorities this morning also announced they would extend the warning to July 27.
On July 26, the Belgian Institute of Meteorology (IRM) issued a thunderstorm warning, with Wallonia province on yellow alert and only the West of the country elevated to a more severe orange warning.
Cumulative rainfall can reach 10-30 liters/m2 in a short time, even intensifying to 40 liters/m2 or a little more in the west of the country, IRM said.
Two weeks ago, storms that produced two months of rain for 48 hours across Northern Europe forced Liege to close its container port for a few days and only recently reopened. However, the new storm warnings cause difficulties for Belgium’s gateway.
On larger rivers, the widespread expected rainfall will not be enough to cause significant overflow. However, the transition to the early warning phase, i.e. local overflow, cannot be completely ruled out for now. Since it is impossible to predict the exact location, duration, and intensity of rainstorms, the whole country needs to be on alert.
Notably, the situation could be worse than the effects of storms two weeks ago, which can cause local runoff, drainage saturation, water accumulation and mudslides.
The flash flood sank two ships near the Liege container port, and while they were being picked up, the cargo barges were forced to slow down as they approached the area.
According to a source, the sunken ships added “two hours” to the barge’s transit time, while damage to infrastructure along the Maas River increased the journey time by 10 – 12 hours.
Dutch authorities this morning also announced they would extend the storm warning to July 27 after a levee in Reeuwijk broke on the morning of July 26, although reports said the reason for the break was still unknown.