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: 208 - 158

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

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"
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 188. Dakster:


And just remember your kids will pick your nursing home.
Not true, I would never put my mom in a nursing home.
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8323
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53841
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53841
Florida can get cold, and downright cold sometimes.

Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8323
203. VR46L
I know its still not great and CA is pretty bad but I have noticed the drought Map has looked worse ....

Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6899
Quoting 175. GeorgiaStormz:
Slight risk may need to be moved south, expanded south, or simply removed depending on if the SPC thinks this will materialize. I don't think it amounts to much







I win, they expanded it south... we'll see if anything materializes




MODERATE THUNDER HAS FIRED OVER CNTRL AL AND WRN GA DUE TO INCREASED
HEATING AS THE CLOUD SHIELD DISSIPATED LATE MORNING. THIS BAND WILL
TRANSLATE NEWD ON A CONVERGENT TRACK WITH THE FRONT. AREAS FROM
CNTRL MS THROUGH NWRN GA...AMIDST SFC DEW POINTS MOSTLY 60S F WITH
SOME 70S NEAR GULF COAST... WILL SEE INCREASED SHEAR ASSOCIATED WITH
THE SURFACE LOW. MORNING HEATING IS SLIGHTLY STRONGER THAN
ANTICIPATED.
THIS FACTOR WILL OFFSET WEAK LAPSE RATES ALOFT ENOUGH
TO RENDER MLCAPE ABOUT 1000-1200 J/KG OVER PORTIONS MS/AL. CAPE
FIELD WILL DECREASE IN MAGNITUDE/LONG, THIN CAPE...FURTHER NWD.
45-50 KT EFFECTIVE SHEAR AND 100-200 J/KG 0-1 KM SRH ARE FCST OVER
MUCH OF MS, AL.

ISOLATED DAMAGING GUSTS ARE POSSIBLE AND A TORNADO CANNOT BE
DEFINITIVELY RULED OUT...THUS MRGL PROBABILITIES.
HOWEVER...OVERALL
ORGANIZATION/COVERAGE WILL BE LIMITED AMIDST WEAK LAPSE
RATES/BUOYANCY...LACK OF ANY SUBSTANTIAL MID-UPPER LEVEL FORCING FOR
ASCENT...PRESENCE OF STRONGEST DEEP-LAYER FLOW/SHEAR BEHIND SFC
FRONT...NEUTRAL OR SLIGHTLY POSITIVE MID-UPPER HEIGHT CHANGES...AND
FLOW ALOFT BEING PARALLEL TO FRONT RESULTING IN SLGT NET ANAFRONTAL
CHARACTER.

SEPARATE AREA OF CONVECTION AND SHOWERS WILL EXPAND/PERSIST FROM
GULF NEWD ACROSS SUNLIT PORTIONS MS AL AND WRN GA. THIS ACTIVITY
WILL OCCUR IN ERN PORTIONS OF LONGSTANDING LOW-LEVEL WAA/MOISTURE
TRANSPORT PLUME. OCNL LOW-MIDDLE LEVEL STORM-SCALE ROTATION ALSO
MAY DEVELOP GIVEN FCST VEERING OF WINDS WITH HEIGHT AND RESULTANT
PROGS OF 100-200 J/KG OF 0-1 KM SRH. INCREASED HEATING AND SLIGHTLY
STRONGER BULK SHEAR WILL WARRANT A LOW THREAT FOR TORNADO.


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Climatological Probabilities
Season La Niña Neutral El Niño
DJF 37% 28% 35%
JFM 34% 37% 29%
FMA 30% 48% 22%
MAM 26% 54% 20%
AMJ 24% 54% 22%
MJJ 25% 51% 24%
JJA 25% 50% 25%
JAS 27% 46% 27%
ASO 29% 40% 31%
SON 32% 34% 34%
OND 34% 31% 35%
NDJ 37% 27% 36%
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I forgot when this was taken, but look how nice that looks.

Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8323
Quoting 193. SLU:
ENSO-NEUTRAL IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE INTO THE NORTHERN
HEMISPHERE SUMMER 2014.


Maybe 2014 might still be interesting after all ...


See at my blog the effects that torrential rains caused in San Juan this morning
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14267
Low 80s here in Brunswick, mid 80s inland. Islands mid 70s. Ocean temp not warming much.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 193. SLU:
ENSO-NEUTRAL IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE INTO THE NORTHERN
HEMISPHERE SUMMER 2014.


Maybe 2014 might still be interesting after all ...


But CPC adds a sentence about El Nino.


While current forecast probabilities are still greatest for ENSO-neutral by mid-summer, there is an increasing chance for the development of El Niño.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14267
Did I remember to roll those windows up?



apparently not
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 194. PedleyCA:


Did I remember to roll those windows up?
Who's gonna drive you home, tonight
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 189. GTstormChaserCaleb:
LOL



Did I remember to roll those windows up?
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5817
193. SLU
ENSO-NEUTRAL IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE INTO THE NORTHERN
HEMISPHERE SUMMER 2014.


Maybe 2014 might still be interesting after all ...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 189. GTstormChaserCaleb:
LOL



Well, that just sucks. Trying to figure out what happened? or really what must have broken the windows out on the other side.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10312
Quoting 188. Dakster:


And just remember your kids will pick your nursing home.
That's what I'm talkin' bout
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 187. ricderr:
Not something I would like to see




not to worry....
I'm sure
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
LOL

Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8323
Quoting 178. PalmBeachWeather:
If you want to stay young looking, pick your parents carefully


And just remember your kids will pick your nursing home.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10312
Not something I would like to see




not to worry....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
186. VR46L
Ascot Nailed it!



Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6899
Looks like it just blew by us in Berlin...but bild.de has some pretty good photos/live stream.
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1455
EL NINO/SOUTHERN OSCILLATION (ENSO) DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION
NWS CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER CAMP SPRINGS MD
1000 AM EST THU 05 DEC 2013



SYNOPSIS: ENSO-NEUTRAL IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE INTO THE NORTHERN
HEMISPHERE SUMMER 2014.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Breaking News The north sea tidal surge is the worst since January 1953, the Environment Agency confirms.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 168. ricderr:
Nearly barfed!


<----gets sick in the bathtub
Not something I would like to see
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I am a bit surprised how calm the winds have stayed here in west Berlin. Outside the city, in Nauen, it was quite nasty around 1700 local time. Perhaps we are too sheltered by the buildings to experience the full force of the winds. At any rate, it is an absolutely miserable evening.
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1455
Quoting 179. Articuno:

Well if this is true then most likely yes-

Link

Link

But, I'd rather be addicted to oreos then a drug, so yeah. xD
That's crazy
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 77. PalmBeachWeather:
Are Oreo's bad for me?

Well if this is true then most likely yes-

Link

Link

But, I'd rather be addicted to oreos then a drug, so yeah. xD
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
If you want to stay young looking, pick your parents carefully
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Snow advisories have been cancelled and replaced with Winter Storm warnings for about 2 more rows of counties in Indiana, perhaps a sign of a shift to the north just a bit?



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Windstorm after bombing.



The bomb commencing.

Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6031
Slight risk may need to be moved south, expanded south, or simply removed depending on if the SPC thinks this will materialize. I don't think it amounts to much



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 170. JNTenne:

Snow in Temecula SoCal back in 2004.. Elevation about 1000 feet as I recall..


That was a different system from the two I mentioned and they didn't come close to that one. Very nice one there.
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5817
pockets of 2000 j/kg surface based cape



up to 2000 MU CAPE





It's also partly cloudy instead of mostly and about 80F in tuscaloosa and low 80s in south alabama.




HRRR seems to have good handle on this
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 19. cRRKampen:
About double the normal traffic jams, this is partly explained by Santa Claus being today.

The Attack on Christmas continues.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6031
Snowfall occasions in Downtown L.A. (Civic Center)
Year Month & Amount of Snowfall
1922 January (trace), March (trace)
1935 December (trace)
1947 December (trace)
1949 January (slightly more than 0.3 inches)
1950 April (0.2 inches)
1951 February (trace), March (trace)
1952 January (trace), March (trace), December (trace)
1954 January (0.3 inches), February (trace)
1957 January (trace)
1962 January (trace)

January 17, 2007, an extremely rare light dusting of snow fell in the Malibu area and in
West Los Angeles.

Source,
www.laalmanac.com/weather/we17.htm
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 160. PedleyCA:


I have seen snowflakes in Rancho Cucamonga and Moreno Valley when I worked about 5-6 years ago. The stuff melted on contact but it was cool be witness it all the same. Both areas are very close to Mountains Ranges. The former is near the end of the San Gabriels and the latter is near the San Bernardinos.

Snow in Temecula SoCal back in 2004.. Elevation about 1000 feet as I recall..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1924:
Ben Brown
The BBC's Ben Brown, in Cleethorpes, tells the BBC News Channel, the high tide is imminent in the area.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Nearly barfed!


<----gets sick in the bathtub
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 164. Bluestorm5:
I got to get ready for my exam at 3 pm. See y'all later.


Just finished one. I think i aced it. Time will tell

Good luck on yours
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 164. Bluestorm5:
I got to get ready for my exam at 3 pm. See y'all later.
Good luck to you
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 162. ihave27windows:
I was on the Princess Beatrix crossing the North Sea from The Netherlands to England and that sea is really rough on a good weather day!

Nearly barfed!
"Are you barfing? There's no barfing in baseball" Raised on boats with my dad .. Felt bad many times but never upchucked (yet)..But one time in band camp!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I got to get ready for my exam at 3 pm. See y'all later.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 158. ricderr:
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


I think Ryan Maue posted that ECMWF is having a great past few weeks statistically.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I was on the Princess Beatrix crossing the North Sea from The Netherlands to England and that sea is really rough on a good weather day!

Nearly barfed!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 153. LargoFl:
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

Simple Man."Lynyrd Skynyrd
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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


I have seen snowflakes in Rancho Cucamonga and Moreno Valley when I worked about 5-6 years ago. The stuff melted on contact but it was cool be witness it all the same. Both areas are very close to Mountains Ranges. The former is near the end of the San Gabriels and the latter is near the San Bernardinos.
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5817
Quoting 153. LargoFl:
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

One of my top 10 Largo
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 208 - 158

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
75 °F
Partly Cloudy