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 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: 5858
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.
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In Hamburg official warnings because of the tidal storm surge early tomorrow morning just were intensified. People should leave low lying areas and protect their properties.


Warning situation for Germany right now.

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255. txjac
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.


Amazing
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Quoting 252. Sfloridacat5:
Bristow Oklahoma - near Tulsa
Roads starting to really ice up.


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53790


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.
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Bristow Oklahoma - near Tulsa
Roads starting to really ice up.
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251. VR46L
Quoting 235. Neapolitan:
...but the darkest blues representing the greatest chance of negative anomalies have disappeared, and should continue to do so. And the 8-14 day period looks positively balmy by comparison:

cpc


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 !
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250. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting 236. PalmBeachWeather:
A great man, Nelson Mandela has passed away..


RIP
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Quoting 239. Bluestorm5:


He fought a hard battle last few decades with his health while changing South Africa forever.
The first real democratic president... He sure hung in there
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248. txjac
Link


Sea walls already breached by raging seas more than two hours BEFORE high tide as 140mph Arctic winds batter British coastline


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South Africa's Nelson Mandela dies Very sad. A great man.
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Quoting 229. barbamz:
Hey folks, checking in late in the evening to catch up a bit with weather news about our dear "Xaver" (Thanks, Doc, for the new blog entry!). In my place near Frankfurt it's windy (sometimes a little howling), much colder and Xaver's convection will reach us right now. But it shouldn't be a problem here in comparison to the North:


Hamburg Fishmarket. Source and more photos in the gallery here; click on the pictures to move to the next.


Tide readings and prediction for Hamburg. They've now "low tide", but look at the orange marker what is expected for tomorrow morning!



well defined system
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53790
Quoting 230. rugbyfanfla:


Yes it can, and I want some cold this winter. 2009 was the last time we had any real cold.
Christmas 1989
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244. VR46L
Quoting 236. PalmBeachWeather:
A great man, Nelson Mandela has passed away..


Thanks for posting that , I can't plus the comment , Really sad about that ,his example should be a lesson to us all !
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"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."

Nelson Mandela. RIP.
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Quoting 207. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Not true, I would never put my mom in a nursing home.
GT, I hope you can hold on to that. You are young and I'm sure your mom is also... Things change when old age changes life. I felt the same way about my dear mom. Luckily she was in an assisted care facility at the time of her passing. It's a very hard thing to deal with, but most of us have to live through it. It's a part of life.
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5858
241. txjac
Quoting 229. barbamz:
Hey folks, checking in late in the evening to catch up a bit with weather news about our dear "Xaver" (Thanks, Doc, for the new blog entry!). In my place near Frankfurt it's windy (sometimes a little howling), much colder and Xaver's convection will reach us right now. But it shouldn't be a problem here in comparison to the North:


Hamburg Fishmarket. Source and more photos in the gallery here; click on the pictures to move to the next.


Tide readings and prediction for Hamburg. They've now "low tide", but look at the orange marker what is expected for tomorrow morning!



Great pics Barb, thanks for sharing.
Some "bold" people over there with extreme sporting going on
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Quoting 235. Neapolitan:
...but the darkest blues representing the greatest chance of negative anomalies have disappeared, and should continue to do so. And the 8-14 day period looks positively balmy by comparison:

cpc


And I still smile at the orange in Florida :D
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Quoting 236. PalmBeachWeather:
A great man, Nelson Mandela has passed away..


He fought a hard battle last few decades with his health while changing South Africa forever.
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 8007
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

Nelson Mandela
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Quoting 223. Bluestorm5:
Well, just finished with my Intro to Meteorology exam in no time at all. I'm pretty sure I aced that one pretty good :) Too bad I won't say the same for next two exams, but I can study hard and at least get most of it. Calculus is next tomorrow morning at 8. I just got to survive that and I'm in relaxation mode until Sunday.


My intro to meteorology exam is on the 17th of December o.O

What was on your exam? :p
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A great man, Nelson Mandela has passed away..
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5858
Quoting 217. VR46L:
The Cold is set to hang around an increase in area

...but the darkest blues representing the greatest chance of negative anomalies have disappeared, and should continue to do so. And the 8-14 day period looks positively balmy by comparison:

cpc
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Sylt, German's posh holiday island near Denmark. Struggeling with erosion of protective beach and dunes. And the next tide could/will be even higher.



In English from EuroNews.
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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.

This?

Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 8007
Oh yeah, I worn my t-shirt and athletic short outside for first time in two months. Will the weight loss, I look and feel awesome! Can't believe it's 70 degrees today...
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 8007
Quoting 230. rugbyfanfla:


Yes it can, and I want some cold this winter. 2009 was the last time we had any real cold.


Thanksgiving morning was the coldest I've seen it get here in FL in the last few years. This PDO needs to flip.
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Quoting 204. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Florida can get cold, and downright cold sometimes.



Yes it can, and I want some cold this winter. 2009 was the last time we had any real cold.
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Hey folks, checking in late in the evening to catch up a bit with weather news about our dear "Xaver" (Thanks, Doc, for the new blog entry!). In my place near Frankfurt it's windy (sometimes a little howling), much colder and Xaver's convection will reach us right now. But it shouldn't be a problem here in comparison to the North:


Hamburg Fishmarket. Source and more photos in the gallery here; click on the pictures to move to the next.


Tide readings and prediction for Hamburg. They've now "low tide", but look at the orange marker what is expected for tomorrow morning!
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228. MPI88
In contrary to the blog posting by Dr. Masters the Dutch Gates have not been closed.

At the time of writing all gates are still open. The Easternscheldt barrier will probably close later tonight. Only the peak of the surge is expected to exceed the closure threshold limit, and only by about 20cm. The massive Maeslantbarrier (Rotterdam) will not close (highly probably not).


Barrier | Open | Closed | Sector
------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------
Oosterscheldekering | * | | Schelde
Maeslant- en Hartelkering| * | | West-Holland
Hollandse IJssel kering | * | | West-Holland
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WE HAVE WINTER STORM DION !
Member Since: September 24, 2013 Posts: 7 Comments: 4072
BREAKING
***WINTER STORM DION NAMED BY TWC.***
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Why it is Winter Storm CLEON







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Quoting 221. Barefootontherocks:
So, what's the name of this storm that's just begun to bring ice and snow to the southern Plains and on up into
AR and the Ohio Valley?

Beaucoup Ice Storm and Winter Storm Warnings across the Middle.
storm 4 at the door with five following in behind it
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53790
Well, just finished with my Intro to Meteorology exam in no time at all. I'm pretty sure I aced that one pretty good :) Too bad I won't say the same for next two exams, but I can study hard and at least get most of it. Calculus is next tomorrow morning at 8. I just got to survive that and I'm in relaxation mode until Sunday.
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 8007
Quoting 210. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
Major Ice Storm for MD/VA possilbe
Member Since: September 24, 2013 Posts: 7 Comments: 4072
So, what's the name of this storm that's just begun to bring ice and snow to the southern Plains and on up into AR (add: MO) and the Ohio Valley?

Beaucoup Ice Storm and Winter Storm Warnings across the Middle.
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NAM 18Z HR 81

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53790
Quoting 218. aburttschell:
No mention of the weather storm in the US yesterday or today? Looks like the Mississippi Valley will be hit pretty hard.


its going to be a mess for some and then some more a little later yet again

NAM 18Z HR 15
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53790
No mention of the winter storm in the US yesterday or today? Looks like the Mississippi Valley will be hit pretty hard.
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217. VR46L
The Cold is set to hang around an increase in area

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Btw ric & Pat - today is 40th ann'y of Band on the Run's release. My first cassette purchase.

Still not snowing, but sky a lot more blue to NW than before, might just be sun angle, considering snow supposed to be south of us.
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Skallinge weather station in Sweden has pressure at 28.33... or 959 mb
Member Since: October 6, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 762
Via Sciencedaily.com



Geoengineering Approaches to Reduce Climate Change Unlikely to Succeed

Dec. 5, 2013 — Reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the planet's surface by geoengineering may not undo climate change after all. Two German researchers used a simple energy balance analysis to explain how Earth's water cycle responds differently to heating by sunlight than it does to warming due to a stronger atmospheric greenhouse effect. Further, they show that this difference implies that reflecting sunlight to reduce temperatures may have unwanted effects on Earth's rainfall patterns.

The results are now published in Earth System Dynamics, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

Global warming alters Earth's water cycle since more water evaporates to the air as temperatures increase. Increased evaporation can dry out some regions while, at the same time, result in more rain falling in other areas due to the excess moisture in the atmosphere. The more water evaporates per degree of warming, the stronger the influence of increasing temperature on the water cycle. But the new study shows the water cycle does not react the same way to different types of warming.

Axel Kleidon and Maik Renner of the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany, used a simple energy balance model to determine how sensitive the water cycle is to an increase in surface temperature due to a stronger greenhouse effect and to an increase in solar radiation. They predicted the response of the water cycle for the two cases and found that, in the former, evaporation increases by 2% per degree of warming while in the latter this number reaches 3%. This prediction confirmed results of much more complex climate models.

...
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Quoting 203. VR46L:
I know its still not great and CA is pretty bad but I have noticed the drought Map has looked worse ....



Drought map has looked bad for a long time... this is actuall better than usual
Member Since: October 6, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 762
Quoting 207. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Not true, I would never put my mom in a nursing home.


Symantics, you will choose to not per her in a home. You home will be her nursing home. Which is what I did with my grand parents too.. And it is more of a cliche' than a truism.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10276
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53790
Portions of Arkansas and Kentucky may receive up to 1" of ice. That's not a record by any means, but affected areas that receive this much may be without power for several days in frigid temperatures.
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Keep hoping ILwthr, personally only want an inch, just enough to track Sat/Sun. Only saw one last season, really think that blue tongue did a number on the population. Don't believe StL or Lincoln radar, it's not snowing here yet.

Keep, we did that drop yesterday, 64 about this time, haven't been 30 since early a.m.

Currently 26, dew pt has dropped to 19, winds slightly more northerly, NW to NNW now, 6-9, 30.09"
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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.