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

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

Share this Blog
45
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

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

Viewing: 308 - 258

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13Blog Index

308. LargoFl
11:10 PM GMT on December 05, 2013
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: 36903
307. TropicalAnalystwx13
11:09 PM GMT on December 05, 2013
Quoting 302. bappit:

And that makes it anything other than a marketing ploy? Heck, the Univ. of Berlin names high pressure areas. Where is TWC on that? Missing another marketing opportunity.

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?
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31463
306. Torito
11:08 PM GMT on December 05, 2013
Quoting 302. bappit:

And that makes it anything other than a marketing ploy? Heck, the Univ. of Berlin names high pressure areas. Where is TWC on that? Missing another marketing opportunity.


You mean Varnia. Rather interesting to see these names.... Look... Wilhelm Sr.... Wilhelm Jr....


Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
305. LargoFl
11:07 PM GMT on December 05, 2013
Warm humid air riding up and over the colder air below..a big ice storm in the making..
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36903
304. washingtonian115
11:07 PM GMT on December 05, 2013
Quoting 291. TropicalAnalystwx13:
People are still complaining about TWC naming storms...when it's just a name...they've been doing it for over a year...and nothing they say will change them doing so?
We have our opinion and you have yours.I personally don't watch TM(market)C any more for weather.CWG has proven to be much more serious and as the younger crowed says about that life .Your right they probably won't change do to the money/ratings.I personally think it's well...but moving along moving along nothing to see here....
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16412
303. barbamz
11:05 PM GMT on December 05, 2013
Earthcam Hamburg: hear the gales howling.
Notice the water is the Binnenalster, a lake within the city created by river Alster. It's not Elbe River which is now threatened by the incoming tide.
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 51 Comments: 5660
302. bappit
11:04 PM GMT on December 05, 2013
Quoting 291. TropicalAnalystwx13:
People are still complaining about TWC naming storms...when it's just a name...they've been doing it for over a year...and nothing they say will change them doing so?

And that makes it anything other than a marketing ploy? Heck, the Univ. of Berlin names high pressure areas. Where is TWC on that? Missing another marketing opportunity.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5954
301. VR46L
11:04 PM GMT on December 05, 2013
.
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6833
the big road danger with this storm is, it starts out as rain,then turns to ice,coating the roads up to say a half to an inch..then..turns to snow,covering the ice..you wake up tomorrow morning, get into the car to go to work..on the roads you just see snow..all of a sudden..boom..your off the road.....ive seen this happen so many times in my younger years up north ...slow down folks..inch it if you have to but stay alert and safe..this storm is going to be dangerous.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36903
Quoting 292. bappit:

That's not Xaver in the lower picture. Is it supposed to be? I can't tell from the upper picture.

Nope, neither is Xaver, but rather examples of storms that have concluded bombogenesis (I really didn't make that clear). The first one is from a low in 1993 analyzed at 912 mb or so and the second was from this January, which bottomed to about 930 mb.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 283. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
number system would be fine storm 1 2 3 4 and so on simple with no end to the numbers


For the public, they should just use the old system. I see the naming of winter systems as a way for TWC to increase viewers.

Issue appropriate watches and warnings in advance to notify the public. Now the public gets a goofy name to go along with the watches and warnings.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 260. washingtonian115:
Nelson Mandela has died.Man we lost a legend.I hope he is a lesson to the younger generation as he was to my generation.R.I.P
Talk about leading an incredible life..May He be at peace for eternity.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20507
They named Xaver well before there was a surface low to go with it.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5954
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36903
Here's a current picture of Xaver. Uninspiring from the photo.

Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5954
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36903
Quoting 288. 1900hurricane:

The conclusion of bombogenesis is when you get the hyper-photogenic wrapped occlusions. Always amazing to behold.




That's not Xaver in the lower picture. Is it supposed to be? I can't tell from the upper picture.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5954
People are still complaining about TWC naming storms...when it's just a name...they've been doing it for over a year...and nothing they say will change them doing so?
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31463
Going to be alot of accidents,up to an inch of ice on the roads in many places..drive slow folks...
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36903
latest image still
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting 265. barbamz:

Indeed, Xaver is much more pretty than this morning - at least in the eyes of the satellites ;-)



Source.

The conclusion of bombogenesis is when you get the hyper-photogenic wrapped occlusions. Always amazing to behold.



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 231. CybrTeddy:


Thanksgiving morning was the coldest I've seen it get here in FL in the last few years. This PDO needs to flip.

Then less heat will be stored in the oceans. Be careful what you wish for.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5954
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36903
Quoting 260. washingtonian115:
Nelson Mandela has died.Man we lost a legend.I hope he is a lesson to the younger generation as he was to my generation.R.I.P


As the British might say at this point:-
He had a good innings, {as in Cricket, the game,}
Its such a pity he didn't have more time with the Bat at the crease!

I know its a bit odd to some people of different political backgrounds but in reality he was such a good sport but he was kept on the side lines for most of his life and when they finally got round to taking notice of him and what he had to say, the world had moved on!
He will be sadly missed, not only by his people in South Africa but also by many in the free thinking world!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Not to detract from what's happening overseas . . .

Here in Central OK, we got our first round of snow - no ice for me.

Enough to cover the ground but not the grass - maybe 0.25 to 0.5 inches?

Reports in and around OKC - very slow going on the roads. Take care.

Addendum: Feel for the folks in DFW/Central TX and SeOK as it appears that hey are going to get a bit of ice :(
Member Since: June 25, 2011 Posts: 2 Comments: 3731
Quoting 278. Sfloridacat5:


I hate naming winter storms in the first place. It's like having a Tropical Storm or hurricane every week.

number system would be fine storm 1 2 3 4 and so on simple with no end to the numbers
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Sunset and still no snow, but StL radio said have some downtown, so prob started as I type, or soon after anyway.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 274. BahaHurican:
Guess we have a lot of "fake" leaders out there; so few who want to lead are willing to sacrifice anything.... :o/

Hopefully people will continue to learn from Mandela's life and legacy...
Exactly
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5821
Quoting 270. SafeInTexas:
Angry rant

Why would you name back to back storms with similar sounding names?!

Cleon, Dion? Surely someone could have though of a D name that didn't end in ON. Did they not see this could cause confusion?

If you happen to name meteorological events, and read this post, please think ahead and give events that could happen in a short time frame with respect to each other phonetically different sounding names.

They were probably thinking "Celine Dion".

So why don't they give them surnames and first names? Why just one advertising label when they could have more? They could give them different names to appeal specifically to different market segments, too. They are missing out on the demographic angle of their marketing strategy.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5954
Quoting 272. VR46L:


Was relativity lucky , The Gusts Maxed at 65 KTS . Lost net a couple of hours , and some flickering electric ... Some Fllodind in kower land a few miles away but all in all it was no worse where I am than your twice a month winter storm

Thanks for asking :)
I do at least realize that winter storms can be as damaging there as hurricanes are here... lol... glad it wasn't worse.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 270. SafeInTexas:
Angry rant

Why would you name back to back storms with similar sounding names?!

Cleon, Dion? Surely someone could have though of a D name that didn't end in ON. Did they not see this could cause confusion?

If you happen to name meteorological events, and read this post, please think ahead and give events that could happen in a short time frame with respect to each other phonetically different sounding names.


I hate naming winter storms in the first place. It's like having a Tropical Storm or hurricane every week.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
277. VR46L
Quoting 270. SafeInTexas:
Angry rant

Why would you name back to back storms with similar sounding names?!

Cleon, Dion? Surely someone could have though of a D name that didn't end in ON. Did they not see this could cause confusion?

If you happen to name meteorological events, and read this post, please think ahead and give events that could happen in a short time frame with respect to each other phonetically different sounding names.


Makes me think someone at TWC is a Celine Dion Fan ....
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6833
Quoting 271. cRRKampen:
I am not at all happy with this.br


Uhh, that's crazy! Thanks for posting.
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 51 Comments: 5660
Quoting 270. SafeInTexas:
Angry rant

Why would you name back to back storms with similar sounding names?!

Cleon, Dion? Surely someone could have though of a D name that didn't end in ON. Did they not see this could cause confusion?

If you happen to name meteorological events, and read this post, please think ahead and give events that could happen in a short time frame with respect to each other phonetically different sounding names.
Wow!
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5821
Quoting 269. PalmBeachWeather:
"Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people" Nelson Mandela
Guess we have a lot of "fake" leaders out there; so few who want to lead are willing to sacrifice anything.... :o/

Hopefully people will continue to learn from Mandela's life and legacy...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 264. whitewabit:


have any levies failed ??


Not yet. But the next tide (waters already start rising again) should be (much) worse than the one earlier. Somewhere at the coastline they are worried about a levee which just was renovated but hasn't got any pasture (grass) on top yet. So it's much more vulnerable.

In some news I've learned that at least one woman died in Denmark when her car was blown away. And two sailors were washed from their ships and are missing. :(
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 51 Comments: 5660
272. VR46L
Quoting 267. BahaHurican:
Or, you could look at it from the other side, that being... well, the cold could be worse than it actually is... lol

BTW, r u getting much from this storm? It looks like most of the worst effects are concentrated on the UK's N and E coast.


Was relativity lucky , The Gusts Maxed at 65 KTS . Lost net a couple of hours , and some flickering electric ... Some Flooding in lower land a few miles away but all in all it was no worse where I am than your twice a month winter storm

Thanks for asking :)
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6833
I am not at all happy with this.



Vlissingen, Zeeland - southwest of Holland. The Model permitted a low tide before the surge, but the astronomical broke and we're a foot over expectations already.
Boston, east England, 18.000, evacced. Grimsby has the sea rushing over the lock virtually defenceless, but low tide setting in before harm.

All attention for Weser/Elbe/Hamburg as the high tide runs through between 02:00 tonight and breakfast time tomorrow. Gale to storm force winds fetching near 2000 km of ocean all night long into our tiny muddy pond.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Angry rant

Why would you name back to back storms with similar sounding names?!

Cleon, Dion? Surely someone could have though of a D name that didn't end in ON. Did they not see this could cause confusion?

If you happen to name meteorological events, and read this post, please think ahead and give events that could happen in a short time frame with respect to each other phonetically different sounding names.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
"Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people" Nelson Mandela
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5821
Quoting 247. DonnieBwkGA:
South Africa's Nelson Mandela dies Very sad. A great man.
Rest in peace Nelson Mandela, you will be missed.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 251. VR46L:


The crow is black , no the crow is white ....

I understand its important for your work / misson that you show warming . I know the CPC and Mother Nature are making it difficult for you at the moment ... But hey enjoy the cooler temps next week !
Or, you could look at it from the other side, that being... well, the cold could be worse than it actually is... lol

BTW, r u getting much from this storm? It looks like most of the worst effects are concentrated on the UK's N and E coast. EDIT: well, the UK effects, anyway... didn't mean to sound like I didn't see what is going on in Germany...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Environment Agency Anglian tweets: SEVERE FLOOD WARNING issued at 22:11 for the Blackwater North Bank in #Essex. Flooding could affect over 2,000 properties
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Indeed, Xaver is much more pretty than this morning - at least in the eyes of the satellites ;-)



Source.
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 51 Comments: 5660
264. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting 253. barbamz:


Today's top gales in km/h so far. But it isn't over yet.
Some districts in Bremen were evacuated because they fear for the levees.


have any levies failed ??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 247. DonnieBwkGA:
South Africa's Nelson Mandela dies Very sad. A great man.
It had to happen sometime. I am just really grateful he lived as long as he did, and in the way that he did. His life has been an inspiration to many of us.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
262. VR46L
Labi Siffre - Something Inside So Strong Nelson Mandela RIP
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6833
Quoting 260. washingtonian115:
Nelson Mandela has died.Man we lost a legend.I hope he is a lesson to the younger generation as he was to my generation.R.I.P
Absolutely correct wash... We need more like him.
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5821
Nelson Mandela has died.Man we lost a legend.I hope he is a lesson to the younger generation as he was to my generation.R.I.P
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16412
Quoting 246. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:



well defined system

Here's an interesting observation I got tonight from the weather forecast here in southern Spain!
On, or about Sunday there will be an high pressure system that will cover the entire Mediterranean area.
"Correct me please" but that's about the size of the USA?
This will mean clear skies and of course no rain for us.
So while the northern European lot are suffering from endless storms and infernal conditions, we in the balmy soft under belly of the zone have to face what might become one of the worst droughts in memory.
I'm Remembering what those Texan's had to say a couple of years ago onwards!
Well its coming here now as well.
20/C in the shade today, about mid 70s I suppose, I don't have an "F" thermometer here at the moment.
Sad about the news to do with Mandela, we wont forget him in a long time!
"Former South African president Nelson Mandela has died aged 95!"
Keep safe everybody in any sort of peril.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 257. Doppler22:
President Obama too make a statement very soon regarding Nelson Mandela's passing.

It is a warm 63 degrees in DC and a cool 55 degrees in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Doppler... Don't make me comment on that....LOL
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5821

Viewing: 308 - 258

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13Blog Index

Top of Page

About

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

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy
79 °F
Partly Cloudy