Hailstones on my doorstep, bone-dry two streets ahead


When our days out are rained off despite predictions of sunshine, you're guaranteed to hear a bit of grumbling. But the Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium (RMI) is working with bpost on a remarkable trial project - unique in Europe - to predict the local weather as accurately as possible in the future. It is planning to outfit thirty post vans with measuring instruments that automatically and continuously send back data on a range of relevant parameters, such as temperature, rainfall, clear skies, fog, slippery roads … you could say your postman will be like a travelling weatherman too. And if the project catches on, more of the bpost fleet could follow. A supremely effective supplement to the network of static measuring stations we have now.

The vehicle will automatically measure the ambient temperature. Are the windscreen wipers moving? It's raining. Are the fog lights on? Sounds like mist, which is a highly localised phenomenon that is very difficult to predict. Have the headlights come on during the day? Then the skies above your postman must be looking ominous or quite dark. Tyres sliding around? Watch out for slippery roads in the area caused by snow or ice. Light sensors can measure the snow. And if it's hailing, the microphones beneath the bonnet won't miss it.

Our mobility specialist Be-Mobile will be able to use this information to warn of very localised traffic disruptions caused by the weather, for example. Commercial players can also see the social importance of more accurate and targeted weather forecasting: airlines, insurance companies, transport and energy firms, arable farmers, supermarkets …