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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Quoting 545. hydrus:
Ice cream.
Hydrus you ok there today?
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
Quoting 520. PalmBeachWeather:
It's a money thing large... Not cheap at all... Most cities are now going to underground utilities when building new developments.Trees are also a major problem in older neighborhoods. A 30 MPH wind can cause havoc with lines in the trees. Many people plant their 3 foot beautiful tree directly under a power line not thinking where that tree will be in 10 years.


It's also not nearly the 10x as expensive I have seen claimed. And over time....it avoids a lot of the maintenance and repairs that obviously come with wind, trees, etc. etc. Most of the time in the US, we had underground power and long blackouts were very, very rare.
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I 10 should be fine at least here in tx as it is south of most of the affected areas.....
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Quoting 554. LargoFl:

didnt say it was today,it shows just how dangerous icy roads are,which is why everyone should be safe and stay off the roads TODAY because crashes like this will be and are being reported all over the place today
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
Anybody remember this dreadful week?...

Katrina, 2005.

Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
'm vieja, ric. This place made us old before our time. I went grey and you went bald, hahahaha




LMAO...i did go bald while blogging here.....


i believe OKC is just starting to feel the full effects......
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I'm vieja, ric. This place made us old before our time. I went grey and you went bald, hahahaha

Nasty mess in DFW. I'm guessing Oklahoma city is even worse?

anyone got some good stats on viability of I-10 and I-40 over the next week? It IS christmas shipping time...
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Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
thanks for the reply ric-



always nice to see the old timers on here...well...not that you're old :-)
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90L windfield.

Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Quoting 521. Dakster:


Yum. Popcorn, butter flavor?
Ice cream.
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TROPICAL CYCLONE 6.

Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
thanks for the reply ric-
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no aqua....11 hours by car to the southwest in el paso

it's just that the storm missed us by about 80 miles to the north so it's garnered big play on local news


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ROUND ROCK -- Icy road conditions are causing problems in Central Texas.

Round Rock

Round Rock police responded to a crash in the westbound lanes of SH 45 Friday morning. Officers say they anticipated that the area near Interstate 35 would be a problem.

They closed the exit from I-35 southbound onto SH 45 earlier because there was ice on the overpass. A TxDOT crew treated the road, but within 10 minutes there was a crash and the road was shut down again. Police say emergency crews also responded to a crash less than a mile from that area.

Austin

Just before 7 a.m. EMS responded to a six-vehicle crash involving an 18-wheeler at northbound U.S. 183 near Spicewood Springs Road. No injuries were reported.

Austin police say most elevated roadways near U.S. 183 and Lake Creek/RM 620 have ice on them. They advise drivers to stay off roads Friday if possible.

In North Austin, police were forced to shut down U.S. 183 at SH 45 after crashes occurred.

Leander

Just after 8 a.m. Leander police closed down 183A until further notice.

Pflugerville

Pflugerville police have closed all ramps of SH 45. They urge drivers to avoid the SH 45/130 overpass.

The Texas Department of Transportation warned drivers Friday morning about black ice being found on roads. They advise to reduce your speed while driving or stay home.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
Quoting 538. LargoFl:
Icy roads cause 65-vehicle crash in Massachusetts


...5 Days ago.

Link
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
ricderr- you in DFW?
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Icy roads cause 65-vehicle crash in Massachusetts
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
GFS also wishcasting at 174 hours near 20N 20W.

Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
prep for after the storm...as of now 264,000 without power


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The NAVGEM thinks it will happen... But it has said this about every system.

36 hours out.
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316





little oops



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dallas ice storm

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Quoting 527. georgevandenberghe:


Cold air is just oozing into the DC area. 64F at dawn, dropping through 50s now. Expecting moderate icing Sunday with severe icing in NW 'burbs.


Interesting and doesn't sound like fun...

Hot air is still king in South Florida and we don't have to worry about ice, snow, a coat, heck a shirt. Almost swimming weather today. (It is for Northerners)
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10075
GFS is not sure.

GFS 24 hours.

Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Quoting 528. Dakster:


They will be off the roads on way or the other with that Ice... Already reports of truck drivers in areas that are forecasted to get hit are hunkering down at rest stops/truck stops (like Pilots and Flying Js).
I guess alot of power outages too with that heavy ice on the lines
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
Quoting 524. LargoFl:
gee this storm is dangerous,hopefully folks stayed home and off the roads.


They will be off the roads on way or the other with that Ice... Already reports of truck drivers in areas that are forecasted to get hit are hunkering down at rest stops/truck stops (like Pilots and Flying Js).
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10075
Quoting 521. Dakster:


Yum. Popcorn, butter flavor?


Cold air is just oozing into the DC area. 64F at dawn, dropping through 50s now. Expecting moderate icing Sunday with severe icing in NW 'burbs.
Member Since: February 1, 2012 Posts: 17 Comments: 1717


Time will tell.
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316

...MAJOR WINTER STORM WILL CONTINUE TO IMPACT MUCH OF ARKANSAS
THROUGH THIS EVENING...

ARZ016-024-025-031>034-037>047-052>057-070000-
/O.COR.KLZK.IS.W.0004.000000T0000Z-131207T0000Z/
ARKANSAS-CLARK-CLEBURNE-CONWAY-FAULKNER-GARLAND-G RANT-HOT SPRING-
INDEPENDENCE-JACKSON-JEFFERSON-LONOKE-MONROE-MONT GOMERY-PERRY-
PIKE-POLK-PRAIRIE-PULASKI-SALINE-SCOTT-WHITE-WOOD RUFF-YELL-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...ARKADELPHIA...AUGUSTA...BATESVILLE...
BEEBE...BENTON...BRINKLEY...BRYANT...CABOT...CLAR ENDON...CONWAY...
COTTON PLANT...DANVILLE...DE VALLS BLUFF...DE WITT...DES ARC...
GLENWOOD...HAZEN...HEBER SPRINGS...HOT SPRINGS...LITTLE ROCK...
LONOKE...MALVERN...MCCRORY...MENA...MORRILTON...M OUNT IDA...
MURFREESBORO...NEWPORT...NORMAN...NORTH LITTLE ROCK...OLA...
PERRYVILLE...PINE BLUFF...SEARCY...SHERIDAN...STUTTGART...WALDRON
645 AM CST FRI DEC 6 2013

...ICE STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 PM CST THIS
EVENING...

AN ICE STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 PM CST THIS
EVENING.

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN LITTLE ROCK HAS ISSUED AN ICE
STORM WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 6 PM
CST FRIDAY.

* EVENT...SIGNIFICANT ICE ACCUMULATIONS ARE EXPECTED ACROSS
CENTRAL ARKANSAS TODAY.

* TIMING...PRECIPITATION WILL CONTINUE ACROSS THROUGH THIS
EVENING. TEMPERATURES IN THE NORTHEAST ARE ALREADY BELOW
FREEZING SO PRECIPITATION WILL INITIALLY BE FREEZING RAIN THEN
TRANSITION TO SLEET BY LATE MORNING. IN CENTRAL ARKANSAS...RAIN
IS EXPECTED INITIALLY...FOLLOWED BY FREEZING RAIN AROUND
DAYBREAK AND POSSIBLY A FREEZING RAIN AND SLEET MIX AS
PRECIPITATION TAPERS OFF THIS EVENING. FROM PINE BLUFF
WESTWARD...IT WILL BE SIMILAR BUT THE TRANSITIONS TO FREEZING
RAIN WILL OCCUR LATER THIS MORNING AND SHOULD REMAIN FREEZING
RAIN THROUGH THE END OF THE EVENT.

* ICE ACCUMULATIONS...WIDESPREAD QUARTER TO HALF INCH ICE TOTALS
ARE EXPECTED...WITH ONE HALF TO THREE QUARTER INCH ACCUMULATIONS
POSSIBLE FOR AREAS NORTHEAST OF LITTLE ROCK.

* IMPACT...VERY HAZARDOUS TRAVEL WILL DEVELOP. NUMEROUS DOWNED
TREE BRANCHES...TREES...AND POWER LINES...ARE EXPECTED AND MAY
LEAD TO THE POTENTIAL FOR WIDESPREAD AND PROLONGED POWER
OUTAGES. FALLING TREES AND TREE BRANCHES MAY ALSO BECOME A
DANGER TO ANYONE OUTDOORS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

AN ICE STORM WARNING MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF ICE ACCUMULATIONS
WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS OR IMPOSSIBLE. TRAVEL IS STRONGLY
DISCOURAGED. COMMERCE WILL LIKELY BE SEVERELY IMPACTED. IF YOU
MUST TRAVEL...KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT...FOOD...AND WATER IN YOUR
VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY. ICE ACCUMULATIONS AND WINDS WILL
LIKELY LEAD TO SNAPPED POWER LINES AND FALLING TREE BRANCHES THAT
ADD TO THE DANGER.

INDIVIDUALS ARE ENCOURAGED TO CONTINUE TO MONITOR FORECAST FROM
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN LITTLE ROCK FOR THE LATEST
REGARDING THIS WINTER STORM.

&&

$$
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
gee this storm is dangerous,hopefully folks stayed home and off the roads.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38107
90L getting ripped apart right now from upper level winds....

I still think that yesterday around 11:00 AM this thing was, in fact, a subtropical storm.

Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
522. VR46L
Quoting 519. hydrus:
Popcorn is forecast. NWS said Tupelo,MS had thundersnow early this morning. We had thunder here on the plateau.


I like to watch that stuff evolve on Satellite !
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6878
Quoting 519. hydrus:
Popcorn is forecast. NWS said Tupelo,MS had thundersnow early this morning. We had thunder here on the plateau.


Yum. Popcorn, butter flavor?
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10075
Quoting 509. largeeyes:
Wonder when more of the US will join much of the developed world and bury their power lines so that these kinds of storms quite being so destructive....
It's a money thing large... Not cheap at all... Most cities are now going to underground utilities when building new developments.Trees are also a major problem in older neighborhoods. A 30 MPH wind can cause havoc with lines in the trees. Many people plant their 3 foot beautiful tree directly under a power line not thinking where that tree will be in 10 years.
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5842
Quoting 514. VR46L:
Hmmm I think I see some popcorn starting to pop

Popcorn is forecast. NWS said Tupelo,MS had thundersnow early this morning. We had thunder here on the plateau.
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518. Skyepony (Mod)
ASCAT from the night.



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Ow.. Hope they are OK Dr. Masters.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10075
516. JeffMasters (Admin)
Quoting 515. Sfloridacat5:
I would assume we'd see an updated blog in an hour or two.
As mentioned, be nice to see info on on-going systems affecting the U.S.


Yes, I should have something up on both storms by 11am at the latest. I was hoping to give updates on both storms yesterday, but a visit to the local ER for a family member that needed stitches put an end to that idea, ouch....

Dr. M.
I would assume we'd see an updated blog in an hour or two.
As mentioned, be nice to see info on on-going systems affecting the U.S.
Member Since: September 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6592
514. VR46L
Hmmm I think I see some popcorn starting to pop

Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6878
513. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #3
DEPRESSION BOB08-2013
17:30 PM IST December 6 2013
=======================================

At 12:00 PM UTC, The depression over southwest Bay of Bengal remained practically stationary and lays center near 10.0N and longitude 84.0E, about 530 km southeast of Chennai and 350 km northeast of Trincomalee (Sri Lanka).

It would intensify further into a deep depression during next 24 hours and subsequently into a cyclonic storm. It would move nearly northwards very slowly during next 48 hours and then recurve north northeastwards.

According to satellite imagery, the Dvorak intensity of the system is T1.5. Associated broken low/medium clouds embedded with intense to very intense convection is seen between 5.0N to 16.0N and 80.0E to 90.0E. The lowest cloud top temperature is about -75C.

3 minute sustained winds near the center is 25 knots with gusts of 35 knots. The state of the sea is rough to very rough around the center. The central pressure of the depression is 1004 hPa.

Scatterometry wind data indicates the cyclonic circulation over the region and associated wind speed to be about 30-35 knots to the north and southeast sector and 20-25 knots to the southwest sector of the system. The ship observation located near 11.0N 86.4E at 1200 UTC of December 6th 2013 today. Reported mean sea level pressure 1005.1 hPa and surface wind of 21 knots.

The depression lies close to the upper tropospheric steering ridge, which runs along 10.0N. The low level convergence along with low level relative vorticity and upper level divergence have further increased during past 12 hrs and are favorable for intensification. The sea surface temperature is about 26-28c. The ocean thermal energy is about 60-80 kj/cm2 around system center. It is relatively less over central Bay of Bengal, i.E. To the north of 13n. The vertical wind shear of horizontal wind has decreased during past 12 hours and is light to moderate (10-20 knots) around system center. It is high to the north of 13.0N. The Madden-Jullian oscillation index lies over phase 3 with amplitude less than 1. Numerical weather prediction models suggest that Madden-Jullian oscillation would continue in phase 3 during next 5 days with increasing amplitude. These are supportive for intensification.

There is general consensus among the numerical weather prediction models with respect to track and intensification during next 48 hours. The numerical weather prediction models suggest near northward and slow movement and intensification of the system into a cyclonic storm during this period. Beyond 48 hours there is divergence in the model with respect to track, as a few models suggest southwestward movement. Current forecast has not taken into consideration these models suggesting southwestward movement and weight has been given to majority of the models and large scale environmental conditions which is expected to steer the system north northeastwards after 48 hours.
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Little bit of rain and sleet coming through my town here in MD..

Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Finally, here is the current GFS 300mb jet stream chart for today.  Strong winds also likely in parts affected by this storm as relative sheer profiles are elevated:
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Wonder when more of the US will join much of the developed world and bury their power lines so that these kinds of storms quite being so destructive....
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Also; driving on ice slicked roads is a no-go/dangerous proposition in such conditions.  If this system is headed your way later, you would want to make your store trips for supplies as soon as you can ahead of the storm. 
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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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