To answer a question with another question, isn’t this article’s topic just an absurd question? From a certain perspective it is, because there is obviously nothing we can do about the rain. We can just deal with it and make the best of our day. In fact, whenever I speak to newly arrived expats I always say it is important to have the right mindset when it comes to the weather in Brussels. Key is that you should just do the things you want to do and go to the places you would like to visit. Obviously you’re not going to go to a beach when it’s only 13 degrees and pouring. But if you had in mind to go shopping in Antwerp or making a little road trip through Wallonie, my suggestion is to not change your plans. Of course nice weather is nicer (duhh), but the problem is there are just too few of those and wait for them. Your time as an expat is short, so go out there and see this city and explore the country. If you are interested in some additional insights into weather in Belgium, read this blog post.
There is, however, a second way to interpret the question. If you would namely know when it’s raining, we would be better able to deal with the rain. For instance, when shall we meet in the park? Should I really go out now to get a baguette and some eggs from the supermarket? And the one that actually inspired me to write this very blog post, when should I leave my office to pick up my little boy from school? Indeed, my immediate challenge will now solve your rain problems in the future!
Introducing: the buienradar
“The what?” I hear you ask? It’s called the buien radar, or simply cloud radar in English. It’s an amazing real-time cloud observation technology that is now available to us common people. Actually it’s there already for years, but for some reason people are always happy when I tell them to use this in case of typical Belgian weather. Now please open up a second tab or browser and type www.buienradar.be. I again hear you asking why type in something if a simple link to www.buienradar.be also works… 😉
The site should be rather self-explanatory, even though it’s in Dutch. The whole idea is that you can actually see the clouds moving in real-time. You can see where they come from and where they are (most likely) going. What I always do when I need to go out between now and 60-90 minutes is to pinpoint Brussels and to simply see what happens with the clouds. You can choose between 1, 3 and 24 hours forecast. Needless to say that the 1 hour is pretty precise and therefore you can simply hold off on putting on your jacket and getting your umbrella until the rain clouds are gone. Pretty cool stuff, isn’t it? They also have a useful app that you may want to install on your smart phone.
Example, today (Tue 18/11) at around 16h15 it was raining, so I checked the radar and noticed that it was going to be better just after 17h00. On the GIF below you see the blue dot for a split second at the Brussels area and can observe how the clouds are going to the East. Long story short, because of this handy website I don’t even have to look outside at this very moment to put on my jacket and walk to my son’s school with full confidence that I am / we are not going to get soaked 🙂