Mighty North Sea Storm Xaver Battering Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:09 PM GMT on December 05, 2013

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For the first time since 2007, the massive flood gates that protect the Netherlands from the North Sea have been closed, as a mighty North Sea storm hurls a huge storm surge propelled by near-hurricane force winds against the coast of the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark. Windstorm "Xaver", as it is called by the Free University of Berlin, has already killed one person in Scotland, where a truck driver was killed and four people were injured in an accident west of Edinburgh when high winds toppled a vehicle onto several cars. Winds gusted up to 142 mph overnight in the Scottish Highlands; many roads and bridges were closed, and all train services in Scotland were suspended; Network Rail spokesman Nick King said that "there's too much debris and too much damage to equipment to continue." At 2:55 pm local time Thursday, oil rig F3 in the North Sea about 200 km (125 miles) north of the Netherlands recorded sustained winds of 83 mph, gusting to 99 mph. These winds were recorded at an elevation of 49 meters (161 feet), so were stronger than the standard winds measured at 10 meters at most world airports. Oil rig Ula off the coast of southern Norway recorded sustained winds of 91 mph, gusting to 108 mph, at 2 pm local time. On the west coast of Denmark at St. Peter Ording Airfield, sustained winds of 58 mph were recorded at 2 pm local time. Winds at Sylt, Germany were 58 mph at 5 pm local time (see the Sylt, Germany beach webcam here.


Figure 1. Waves lash the North Sea coast at the ferry dock in Dagebuell, Germany, on December 5, 2013. (CARSTEN REHDER/AFP/Getty Images)


Figure 2. MODIS satellite image of Windstorm Xaver taken at approximately 11 UTC Thursday December 5, 2013. Image credit: NASA Worldview.

Heavy wind damage likely
A squall line with severe thunderstorms has developed along a cold front that is sweeping across Northern Europe this Thursday afternoon, and these thunderstorms are bringing intense lightning, heavy rains, and damaging winds. The European Storm Forecast Experiment is warning of the risk of tornadoes with this squall line, and damaging wind gusts of up to 90 mph (145 kph) in the severe thunderstorms. The Thursday morning 00Z run of the European model predicted that Xaver would bottom out with a central pressure near 960 mb Friday morning; the GFS model had it stronger, at 956 mb. This will make Xaver stronger the October's Windstorm "Christian" (AKA the St. Jude storm), which bottomed out at 968 mb. Christian killed 18, and did $1.4 billion in damage. It is possible that the wind damage from Xaver will approach that of Windstorm Anatol, which hit Denmark, Southwest Sweden, and Northern Germany on December 3, 1999. Anatol had sustained winds of up to 91 mph (146 kph), killed 20 people, and injured over 800. Damage was $2.6 billion (1999 dollars) in Denmark, making it the costliest disaster in Danish history.


Figure 3. Severe weather warnings for Xaver from the European Storm Forecast Experiment.

3.5-meter storm surge predicted for Germany
The maximum storm tide of Xaver will be in Germany and Denmark, and will be unusually high, since we are only two days past the new moon. Fortunately, the German coast is well protected by dikes, which are about 8 meters high, and these dikes should be able to withstand Xaver's storm surge. The German weather service storm surge forecast made Thursday morning called for a storm tide of 3.5 meters (11.5') above average high tide in Cuxhaven and Bremerhaven during the high tide cycle early Friday morning. This is about 4.8 meters above mean sea level in Bremerhaven, which will be very close to the all-time record of 5.18 m above mean sea level set there in January 1976.

German storm surge history
The deadliest flood of the last hundred years in Germany was the "North Sea flood" in 1962 (16/17 February), where many dikes broke and 340 people were killed. In the Bremerhaven area, the dikes from the 1840s were just able to withstand the storm surge but were heavily damaged. Bremerhaven had installed storm surge gates at the mouth of the river Geeste in summer 1961 as a reaction to the 1953 flood in the Netherlands. That small-scale Deltaworks saved the city. After this catastrophe, the dikes along the German coast were strengthened. Just in time, as the highest storm surge of at least the last hundred years occurred in January 1976. In Hamburg, the 1976 flood was 4.35 meters (14.3') above average high tide, which is 6.45 meters (21.2') above mean sea level. This is 75 cm higher than the storm surge of 1962, but the dikes were strong and high enough in 1976 to withstand the flood. Thanks go to Dr. Michael Theusner of the German climate museum Klimahaus for these stats.

Links
Weather graphics and storm impacts from Storm #Xaver from Tim Ballisty @IrishEagle
Sylt, Germany webcam
‪Dagebüll‬, Germany ferry terminal webcam
Thyboroen, Denmark webcam (thanks go to wunderground member barbamz for this link.)
24-hour storm surge forecasts and actual water levels for the North Sea coast
Tide chart for Bremerhaven, Germany. The highest storm tide will occur at high tide at 1:59 UTC (2:59 CET) on Friday morning.
German weather forum
Wikipedia's list of great European windstorms.
A list of the severest storm surges at the North Sea (in German) and a not so-detailed list in English here
The Future of Intense Winter Storms, my 2010 blog post on climate change and winter storms (updated in early 2013.)

Jeff Masters

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Euro favors it the most, but all three are not close to agreement.





correct me if i'm wrong but i believe the euro has done well so far this early into the wintry season
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Quoting 132. StormTrackerScott:



Too far south... Is that cold enough for snow though?
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9725
CMC, Euro, and GFS are nowhere near agreement for possible winter event in Georgia and Carolinas around December 12-13. Euro favors it the most, but all three are not close to agreement.
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The pink looks like strawberry ice cream



just as long as it's not yellow
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Quoting 147. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
The pink looks like strawberry ice cream.
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Quoting 149. PalmBeachWeather:
Check out Neil Young singing "Old Man" on youtube.... Fantastic
aerosmith for me...Dream On...
Sing with me, sing for the year
Sing for the laughter and sing for the tear
Sing with me, I'm just for today
Maybe tomorrow the good Lord'll take you away

Listen, dream on, dream on, dream on
Dream until the dream come true
Yea, dream on, dream on, dream on
Dream until your body getting blue

Dream on, dream on
Dream on, dream on
Dream on, dream on
Dream on, oh

Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
Tomorrow

..MS DELTA INTO NRN GA/ERN TN...
DEEP-LAYER ASCENT WITHIN/BENEATH RIGHT ENTRANCE REGION OF
STRENGTHENING MID-LEVEL JET IS FORECAST TO SPREAD NEWD FROM THE
MIDDLE/LOWER MS VALLEY TO OH VALLEY THROUGH THE DAY. THIS WILL
LIKELY MAINTAIN EXTENSIVE PRECIPITATION SHIELD ON THE COLDER SIDE OF
THE STALLED FRONT AND A MODEST WARM/MOIST CONVEYOR BELT FROM THE
GULF/SERN LA TO THE SRN APPALACHIANS WHERE SURFACE DEWPOINTS SHOULD
BE IN THE LOW-MID 60S F. A WEAK WAVE WILL DEVELOP ALONG THE FRONT
AND MOVE RAPIDLY TO THE NE AND WILL SERVE AS THE FOCAL POINT FOR ANY
SEVERE POTENTIAL. ALTHOUGH MLCAPE VALUES HAVE DECREASED IN THE RANGE
OF 500-750 J/KG, THERE WILL BE A WINDOW IN THE LATE MORNING/MIDDAY
WHERE THIS AXIS OF MLCAPES WILL COINCIDE WITH THE DEVELOPING WAVE
AND VERTICAL SHEAR OF 40-50KT TO SUPPORT THE POTENTIAL FOR AN
ORGANIZED STORM OR TWO AND POSSIBLY EVEN A TORNADO.
PRIMARY LIMITING
FACTORS AT THIS TIME CONTINUE TO BE THE LACK OF STRONGER UPWARD
FORCING ACROSS THE REGION AND GENERALLY WEAK LAPSE RATES LIMITING
STORM UPDRAFT STRENGTH AND PERSISTENCE.

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9725
Quoting 149. PalmBeachWeather:
Check out Neil Young singing "Old Man" on youtube.... Fantastic
that's a good one too heart of gold is a fav as well
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53548
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53548
Quoting 142. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


I like Crosby, Stills, Nash myself
Check out Neil Young singing "Old Man" on youtube.... Fantastic
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53548
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53548
Quoting 124. StormTrackerScott:


85 here Largo
Warm here also Largo... Hard to believe what is happening north of us
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Ice is already building up in Arkansas


here

NWS Atlanta ‏@NWSAtlanta 19m
133pm..Tornado threat increasing across west #GA today. Be weather aware! #ATL #GAWX #NWS pic.twitter.com/CnvrBOOkna
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9725
AL, 90, 2013120518, , BEST, 0, 337N, 277W, 40, 999, LO, 34, NEQ, 120, 150, 150, 150, 1014, 400, 70, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, D,
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143. VR46L
Quoting 135. PalmBeachWeather:
VR.............Myself included have said "I will never post again" Guess it's who pisses me off at the time..Usually just one in mind


LOL !

Oh I have done it too but I only think once publicly ... at the time I did it publicly ,I thought I was finished here ...

But that person that upsets you , doesn't get to me ..
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6878
Quoting 138. ricderr:
Were you listening to Band on the Run again ric?


sure must have been pat.....LOL


I like Crosby, Stills, Nash myself
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53548
Quoting 105. washingtonian115:
Who are these friends that are begging?.Not being rude or anything..I thought you bid farewell last week..
wash......I have bid farewell maybe 15 times now...
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Quoting 111. LargoFl:
Stay Safe Hydrus.....................


Dang that's a tight gradient for rainfall over N GA


Meanwhile in AL
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9725
Quoting 104. indianrivguy:


ahhh, south Florida.. :) toasty!




Oh yes, they are TERRIBLE for you, but I am unaffected so you can send yours to me and I'll save you...
IRG.... Nothing better than whole milk and Oreo's... Well, maybe a close second
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Were you listening to Band on the Run again ric?


sure must have been pat.....LOL
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Here are some images of what occurred this morning as torrential rains moved over San Juan.





Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14214
Quoting 104. indianrivguy:


ahhh, south Florida.. :) toasty!




Oh yes, they are TERRIBLE for you, but I am unaffected so you can send yours to me and I'll save you...
IRG.... I saw you on the local news a few days ago...Hope you are ok...I spent 5 days in the hospital myself and home care for 3 weeks...Old age sucks.. I wil send you an email.
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Quoting 99. VR46L:


Welcome back .......................
Have missed you all of 3 days
So much for Never ever blogging here again :)
VR.............Myself included have said "I will never post again" Guess it's who pisses me off at the time..Usually just one in mind
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GEM Model 10 days from today..................
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
Were you listening to Band on the Run again ric?
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this one was too good not to waste....time for a new blog....whoohoo.....two qod's in a day....be back in a few....writing time
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12Z mid range guidance is all over the place.
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"rubbing my wrists"....dang those cuffs were tight....cold too
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1835: Paul Mustow, who is a flood risk manager at the Environment Agency, said: "The high tides which are now appearing in Northumberland will move down the east coast this evening and into tomorrow and that will cause problems.

"Levels in excess of those seen over the last 60 years in some places down the east coast... will lead to some localised flooding. It has to be said that obviously we've seen these levels are very high, but also the investment in flood defences over the last few decades has been significant and there are good defences down the majority of that coastline." Link
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Quoting 125. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
thats the building rtn flow after the cold


No it's a strong short wave that gets kicked out of the SW US and gets pushed into Texas which causes a low to form in the NW Gulf. Very similar to last week.

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Quoting 124. StormTrackerScott:


85 here Largo
yep 84 is the record for my area and the sun has hours to go..
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
Quoting 123. StormTrackerScott:
12Z Euro means business 7 to 10 days out! Could very well be a potent Gulf low forming in 7 days. Infact many GFS Ensembles are showing this as well.

thats the building rtn flow after the cold
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53548
Quoting 119. LargoFl:
nearing record temps here today...............


85 here Largo
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12Z Euro means business 7 to 10 days out! Could very well be a potent Gulf low forming in 7 days. Infact many GFS Ensembles are showing this as well.


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Quoting 117. JNTenne:
Woke up to warm 70 degrees and rainy this morning here in Nashville area, Started cooling about an hour ago and we are in the 40's now.. Hope the ice does not get too bad...
Glad the Germans have those 8 meter tall dikes protecting the coastline...
we got to 59 now back down to 58.5 under some cloud if sun pokes out for a little bit we may break 60 around 3 or so

but just today tonight temps down to 27 by sunrise tomorrow with flurries possible

over 30 degree temp swing in less than 24 hrs
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53548
Only takes 1-2 degree's to break record high temps today and the day is still young...
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
Precip barely makes it to cent fl on that 2nd wave...
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
nearing record temps here today...............
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
Quoting 92. ncstorm:
12z CMC takes the second wave south..as Gomer would say..SHAZAM!!






Whoa that is far south for winter weather this early in the season. That is going to make for one ugly mess.
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Woke up to warm 70 degrees and rainy this morning here in Nashville area, Started cooling about an hour ago and we are in the 40's now.. Hope the ice does not get too bad...
Glad the Germans have those 8 meter tall dikes protecting the coastline...
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Toronto Pearson Int'l Airport
Date: 1:00 PM EST Thursday 5 December 2013
Condition:Cloudy
Pressure:29.7 inches
Tendency:rising
Visibility:15 miles
Temperature:58.5°F
Dewpoint:42.1°F
Humidity:54%
Wind:WSW 19 gust 32 mph
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53548
Quoting 113. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
snow in Los Angeles must be a sign
yes he was amazed at that possibility
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
D.C area...................
THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR A SIGNIFICANT ICING EVENT SUNDAY INTO EARLY
MONDAY...MAINLY WEST OF I-95. PRECIPITATION MAY START OUT AS SNOW AT
THE ONSET BEFORE EVENTUALLY CHANGING OVER TO A PERIOD OF FREEZING
RAIN AND/OR SLEET. THERE IS STILL SIGNIFICANT UNCERTAINTY
REGARDING THE PRECIPITATION TYPE WITH THE EVENT. PLEASE CONTINUE
TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.

THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING OF SMALL STREAMS LATE SUNDAY
INTO MONDAY...AND ON LARGER STREAMS AND RIVERS THROUGH TUESDAY.

.SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT...

SPOTTER ACTIVATION IS NOT EXPECTED AT THIS TIME.

Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
Quoting 108. LargoFl:
local met said there WAS a small possibility snow flakes could fall at night all the way down to say los angeles...THAT would be strange huh..only small possibility
snow in Los Angeles must be a sign
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53548
Quoting 92. ncstorm:
12z CMC takes the second wave south..as Gomer would say..SHAZAM!!












GFS at 192 HR got nothing in term of precip for now, but support the cold.
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Stay Safe Hydrus.....................
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
Quoting 100. 1900hurricane:

The last few CMC runs have been bombing the Arctic Oscillation negative, dumping cold air south yet again, but I don't think it has much support from other globals or ensembles. Still a long way out though.


no it doesnt..I'll just wait and see if this becomes consistent and have some model support
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15137
Quoting 105. washingtonian115:
Who are these friends that are begging?.Not being rude or anything..I thought you bid farewell last week..


he's hook he don't know it but he is

lol
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53548
Quoting 82. PedleyCA:
Good Morning or whatever floats your boat. Here's to all our friends in the Scottish Highlands are in one piece. Still no rain here but some has passed to the South and HHJoe should have got some. It's a nice toasty 67.5 inside here and 52.2 outside. The low this morning was 43.2 @6:56 I heard on the News this morning that Lancaster and Palmdale CA. were slightly under 20°F this morning (ouch). Glad I don't work up there anymore. We should be back in the 60's on Tuesday.

local met said there WAS a small possibility snow flakes could fall at night all the way down to say los angeles...THAT would be strange huh..only small possibility
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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