Record high waves, but dikes pass test
overnight, but no major problems were reported by Friday morning.
The north-west storm that raced over the Netherlands with wind
speeds of more than 100 kilometres per hour caused record-high water
Strong winds of 100 km per hour are not exceptional for this time of
the year in the Netherlands, but it is the combination of wind
direction, rain and a seawater level that was already high prior to the
storm that caused the state of alert.
In Harlingen, a town bordering on the north-east coast of the
country, the seawater level rose to 3.4 metres above the so-called New
Amsterdam Water level (NAP), the standard used to ascertain the height
of the water.
Near Rotterdam, the level stood at 2.84 metres above NAP while in
Zeeland, in the south-west, the sea level rose to 3.43 metres, the
third highest level since the Delta water defence system in the Zeeland
province has been built.
Late Thursday night, all Dutch water defence systems along the North
Sea coast, such as the Maeslant and Hartel defence systems near
Rotterdam, had been automatically closed due to the high water level.
The coastguard patrolled the dikes from north to south during the night, but no major problems occurred.
The harbour of Rotterdam, which had closed down in the early evening
of Thursday, also remained closed throughout the night and early Friday
Elsewhere in the country, the first strong autumn storm of 2007 in
the Netherlands caused damage to public and personal property.
In the province of Noord-Brabant, rooftops of homes were damaged and trees fell on cars.
In several places located near the sea, local flooding occurred. In
Harlingen, the fishery storage and processing sites were all flooded,
with water levels of up to 1 metre.
Later this morning, the water level in Delfzijl in the north is expected to rise to more than 4 metres above NAP.
The coastal guard along the whole north-east coast of the Netherlands will remain on high alert throughout the rest of Friday.
From the village of Petten in the province of Noord-Holland to the south however, the high alert has been lifted.
For Friday, rain and hail are expected to continue, again accompanied with north-eastern winds of up to 100 km per hour.