Record high waves, but dikes pass test
10-metre high waves beat the North Sea coast of the Netherlands overnight, but no major problems were reported by Friday morning.
9 November 2007
AMSTERDAM - 10-metre high waves beat the North Sea coast of the Netherlands overnight, but no major problems were reported by Friday morning.
The north-west storm that raced over the Netherlands with wind speeds of more than 100 kilometres per hour caused record-high water levels.
Strong winds of 100 km per hour are not exceptional for this time of the year in the Netherlands, but it is the combination of wind direction, rain and a seawater level that was already high prior to the storm that caused the state of alert.
In Harlingen, a town bordering on the north-east coast of the country, the seawater level rose to 3.4 metres above the so-called New Amsterdam Water level (NAP), the standard used to ascertain the height of the water.
Near Rotterdam, the level stood at 2.84 metres above NAP while in Zeeland, in the south-west, the sea level rose to 3.43 metres, the third highest level since the Delta water defence system in the Zeeland province has been built.
Late Thursday night, all Dutch water defence systems along the North Sea coast, such as the Maeslant and Hartel defence systems near Rotterdam, had been automatically closed due to the high water level.
The coastguard patrolled the dikes from north to south during the night, but no major problems occurred.
The harbour of Rotterdam, which had closed down in the early evening of Thursday, also remained closed throughout the night and early Friday morning.
Elsewhere in the country, the first strong autumn storm of 2007 in the Netherlands caused damage to public and personal property.
In the province of Noord-Brabant, rooftops of homes were damaged and trees fell on cars.
In several places located near the sea, local flooding occurred. In Harlingen, the fishery storage and processing sites were all flooded, with water levels of up to 1 metre.
Later this morning, the water level in Delfzijl in the north is expected to rise to more than 4 metres above NAP.
The coastal guard along the whole north-east coast of the Netherlands will remain on high alert throughout the rest of Friday.
From the village of Petten in the province of Noord-Holland to the south however, the high alert has been lifted.
For Friday, rain and hail are expected to continue, again accompanied with north-eastern winds of up to 100 km per hour.
[Copyright dpa 2007]
Subject: Dutch news