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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Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

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Quoting 354. Tygor:
I don't understand why TWC names Winter Storms at all. Why not name summer thunderstorm fronts as well?

It is that stupid.


why do the Europeans name cyclones.?
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Quoting 353. Dakster:


I wondering if you got so many pluses for the first or second part of your post. ;)

But my day won't be complete without a plus from Nea..........Good evening all...
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 6000
Personally, I don't like TWC naming the storm... but I don't care much or get upset over it either. I chose to ignore it.
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Quoting 354. Tygor:
I don't understand why TWC names Winter Storms at all. Why not name summer thunderstorm fronts as well?

It is that stupid.


You didn't hear? They are going to do that starting next summer.

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354. Tygor
I don't understand why TWC names Winter Storms at all. Why not name summer thunderstorm fronts as well?

It is that stupid.
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Quoting 324. PalmBeachWeather:
With a name, or without a name...Storms will continue... Being in south Florida ,if Andrew did not have a name it still would have been devastating... If I didn't have a name, I would still be considered a bitch. Just a thought


I wondering if you got so many pluses for the first or second part of your post. ;)

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Everyone has their personal opinion and I like that the TWC use the name for winter storms.I imagine the same happen when they start naming hurricanes way back and I know they were not the twc that start it just make it a comparison.Anyways this is a free world and any one could have their opinion :D Btw good evening,sorry for not passing more time in here but being a senior is tiresome.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I think what Bappit is trying to say is that TMC is trying to hard to be "down with the hip image".Like they aren't being themselves and what they were about before.Yeah it's nothing wrong with making money..it's how you make it.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17599
The funny part is,is that the storms are just so nonchalant.Like they don't even know we're giving them names lol.We when see them on Satellite they're like..yeah..I'm here and what?.Meanwhile we're making a big fuss for names.Not only for winter storms but also for tropical systems.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17599
Quoting 345. PalmBeachWeather:
So many plusses... Am I really that bad?

No, but your comment was hilarious.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32690
Quoting 345. PalmBeachWeather:
So many plusses... Am I really that bad?


Nah...Just funny.
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When my blog got wiped I think it got my quote total too.
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Quoting 341. PensacolaDoug:



Good question. I have no clue.


You wrote a (first) blog recently and that zeroed out your totals. Weird fluke of the blog is it does that. Write that first one early or lose your total later when it is large. Lots of time to make up.
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Quoting 324. PalmBeachWeather:
With a name, or without a name...Storms will continue... Being in south Florida ,if Andrew did not have a name it still would have been devastating... If I didn't have a name, I would still be considered a bitch. Just a thought
So many plusses... Am I really that bad?
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 6000
Quoting 341. PensacolaDoug:



Good question. I have no clue.
I'm showing 175 quotes by you
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 6000
Quoting 339. barbamz:


This was the view out of the window of my office earlier today at sunset in Mainz/Rhine River. Glowing clouds which had been sent south to us by "Xaver". Tower is from St. Stephan, founded in 975 or some years later, and now decorated with windows of Marc Chagall.

As I have a meeting early tomorrow morning, I have to visit my cushions now. Have a nice evening, and all the best to Hamburg and the whole coastline in respect to Xaver's surge ... Good night.

stay safe hope the meeting goes well see ya laters
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55517
Quoting 340. daddyjames:


I just nod and wave as you go by ;)
So it is you..............
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 6000
Quoting 338. PalmBeachWeather:
What happened to all of your past quote totals?



Good question. I have no clue.
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Quoting 331. PalmBeachWeather:
I walk two miles every morning at 5:30 am...I meet all of the lowlifes south Florida has...But I do smile and say hello


I just nod and wave as you go by ;)
Member Since: June 25, 2011 Posts: 2 Comments: 3733


This was the view out of the window of my office earlier today at sunset in Mainz/Rhine River. Glowing clouds which had been sent south to us by "Xaver". Tower is from St. Stephan, founded in 975 or some years later, and now decorated with windows of Marc Chagall.

As I have a meeting early tomorrow morning, I have to visit my cushions now. Have a nice evening, and all the best to Hamburg and the whole coastline in respect to Xaver's surge ... Good night.



BTW: Tide gauge or the island of Norderney:


Source
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 62 Comments: 6484
Quoting 336. PensacolaDoug:
.
What happened to all of your past quote totals?
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 6000
Quoting 335. PensacolaDoug:
Not all. Some of 'em live on the west coast down there.
I usually give the "peace sign" that works for the older ones
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 6000
.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 331. PalmBeachWeather:
I walk two miles every morning at 5:30 am...I meet all of the lowlifes south Florida has...But I do smile and say hello
Not all. Some of 'em live on the west coast down there.
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Quoting 330. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
hope everyone is having a nice evening
Thanks KEEP..
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 6000
Quoting 320. bappit:

Their main goal is to make money.

There's nothing wrong with that.
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Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22257
Quoting 329. daddyjames:


Yea, I'm sure TWC would not want that kind of publicity associated with their naming system . . .

Unless of course, it was having to do push ups every time they mention the name, then they would benefit from the new fitness craze.
I walk two miles every morning at 5:30 am...I meet all of the lowlifes south Florida has...But I do smile and say hello
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 6000
hope everyone is having a nice evening
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55517
Quoting 322. VR46L:


LMAO !

That probably would do it .....


Yea, I'm sure TWC would not want that kind of publicity associated with their naming system . . .

Unless of course, it was having to do push ups every time they mention the name, then they would benefit from the new fitness craze.
Member Since: June 25, 2011 Posts: 2 Comments: 3733
So I misread your post and have deleted my comment.

Y'all are missing the point I made about the big picture. TWC is just one piece of the big picture.

Edit: If cable news were not as crass as it already is, TWC would look even sillier. As it is, they just blend in with the background noise.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6147
Quoting 320. bappit:

Their main goal is to make money.
And this is a problem because?...So they are out their to make money, how else is one suppose to live in this world? Sitting at home certainly is not going to cut it. I mean this is a realistic way of looking at it. It is business, the media is part of a business.
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Quoting 321. TropicalAnalystwx13:

You are welcome to believe that complaining on a weather blog will get The Weather Channel to stop naming winter storms. Meanwhile, I will remain in reality.


there not going to stop it unless the
National Weather Service orders them too

and if they think it was causing confusion iam sure they would
they already gave orders not to use the names in there written forecasts from the start

so its kinda like unofficial names anyway
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55517
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22257
Quoting 321. TropicalAnalystwx13:

You are welcome to believe that complaining on a weather blog will get The Weather Channel to stop naming winter storms. Meanwhile, I will remain in reality.
With a name, or without a name...Storms will continue... Being in south Florida ,if Andrew did not have a name it still would have been devastating... If I didn't have a name, I would still be considered a bitch. Just a thought
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 6000
Quoting 321. TropicalAnalystwx13:

You are welcome to believe that complaining on a weather blog will get The Weather Channel to stop naming winter storms. Meanwhile, I will remain in reality.

Keep thinking that way and you are fated to an unempowered life.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6147
322. VR46L
Quoting 318. daddyjames:


Not complain, just turn off TWC everytime they say the name. Hey, better yet I see a new kind of game developing . . .


LMAO !

That probably would do it .....
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6968
Quoting 319. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


even the smallest of changes
are significant
for they are the first steps
leading the way
without them there would be
no first steps towards change

You are welcome to believe that complaining on a weather blog will get The Weather Channel to stop naming winter storms. Meanwhile, I will remain in reality.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32690
Quoting 315. GTstormChaserCaleb:
They are being responsible, they are warning the public of a storm system. They want to keep people tuned in that is what they are about, that is the main goal of the media, news, and entertainment. Why do people have a problem with that? It makes no sense to me. If you don't like what they have then don't watch it. Plain and simple.

Their main goal is to make money.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6147
Quoting 312. TropicalAnalystwx13:

I don't believe in fighting for something when the chances of making any significant change are insignificant. But that's just my pessimistic side speaking.

The "we" was a general statement towards those who do it, not specifically you.


even the smallest of changes
are significant
for they are the first steps
leading the way
without them there would be
no first steps towards change
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55517
Quoting 307. TropicalAnalystwx13:

It's most certainly just a marketing ploy. Does that mean we should complain about it every time they name a new storm? What exactly is that going to accomplish?


Not complain, just turn off TWC everytime they say the name. Hey, better yet I see a new kind of game developing . . .
Member Since: June 25, 2011 Posts: 2 Comments: 3733
Quoting 312. TropicalAnalystwx13:

I don't believe in fighting for something when the chances of making any significant change are insignificant. But that's just my pessimistic side speaking.

The "we" was a general statement towards those who do it, not specifically you.

They would stop if they could get enough publicity from it.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6147
Quoting 314. VR46L:


If Nelson Mandela Followed your line of thinking then South Africa would still have apartheid....

I guess it's a good thing he didn't...
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32690
Quoting 310. bappit:

Point out where I have complained with each storm please.

However, there is a bigger issue at stake here: the total commercialization (and propagandizing) of news. They have declared war on news I tell you!

Why should we let responsible news reporting die quietly?
They are being responsible, they are warning the public of a storm system. They want to keep people tuned in that is what they are about, that is the main goal of the media, news, and entertainment. Why do people have a problem with that? It makes no sense to me. If you don't like what they have then don't watch it. Plain and simple.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
314. VR46L
Quoting 312. TropicalAnalystwx13:

I don't believe in fighting for something when the chances of making any significant change are insignificant. But that's just my pessimistic side speaking.

The "we" was a general statement towards those who do it, not specifically you.


If Nelson Mandela Followed your line of thinking then South Africa would still have apartheid....
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6968

GFS pressure, latest forecast for now.


850hpa winds. Source wetter3.de


Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 62 Comments: 6484
Quoting 310. bappit:

Point out where I have complained with each storm please.

However, there is a bigger issue at stake here: the total commercialization (and propagandizing) of news. They have declared war on news I tell you!

Why should we let responsible news reporting die quietly?

I don't believe in fighting for something when the chances of making any significant change are insignificant. But that's just my pessimistic side speaking.

The "we" was a general statement towards those who do it, not specifically you.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32690
Good Night Folks......................
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41585
Quoting 307. TropicalAnalystwx13:

It's most certainly just a marketing ploy. Does that mean we should complain about it every time they name a new storm? What exactly is that going to accomplish?

Point out where I have complained with each storm please.

However, there is a bigger issue at stake here: the total commercialization (and propagandizing) of news. They have declared war on news I tell you!

Why should we let responsible news reporting die quietly?
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6147
Fox has a nice marketing idea with the War on Christmas thing. TWC really has a hard time competing.

Speaking of the War on Christmas, I was shocked, shocked I tell you, that Santa Claus has already visited the Netherlands.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6147
Invest 90L
As of 18:00 UTC Dec 05, 2013:


Location: 33.7°N 27.7°W
Maximum Winds: 40 kt Gusts: N/A
Minimum Central Pressure: 999 mb
Environmental Pressure: 1014 mb
Radius of Circulation: 400 NM
Radius of Maximum Wind: 70 NM


Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41585

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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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