Snowstorms delay flights and slow motorists
29 January 2004
AMSTERDAM — Passengers encountered delays at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and motorists battled slippery and dangerous conditions on the nation’s roads, but at about 9am on Thursday weather bureau KNMI withdrew its warning of continued snowfalls.
Schiphol, the main international airport in the Netherlands, said planes were taking off 30 minutes later than scheduled, but confirmed that other airports across Europe were also facing problems due to the winter weather.
Schiphol had just one landing runway in use at about 6.45am on Thursday, compared with its usual two. An airport spokeswoman attributed the reduced capacity to strong winds, news agency ANP reported.
Traffic problems on motorways across the nation were being reported earlier than normal, with a 16km traffic jam recorded on the A6 motorway between Almere and Muiderberg at about 6.45am. The A6 motorway joins up with the A1 just outside of Amsterdam.
There were in total 19 traffic jams in the Netherlands at 6.45am, extending to a combined length of almost 80km. A spokesman for the national police force KLPD said there were several road accidents reported, resulting in only minor damages to vehicles.
And between 6am and 8.30am, a total of 17 accidents were reported on the nation’s motorways, also resulting in only minor vehicle damages. No injuries were reported.
Most accidents were front and rear-end collisions, but some motorists lost control of their cars and hit guard rails alongside the motorways.
The KLPD said given the circumstances, motorists adjusted well to the conditions. Despite this, a total of 30 accidents occurred in the province of Drenthe, including a single fatality at Ingen.
At about 8.15pm, there were 60 traffic jams across the nation with a total length of about 400km. And by 8.30am there were 68 traffic jams with a total length of 571km, making Thursday morning the second worst peak-hour in Dutch motoring history.
It had earlier been reported that Thursday would be recorded as nation’s third worst peak-hour, but in the space of just 15 minutes it climbed from third to second place.
The worst motoring day in the Netherlands occurred on 8 February 1999, when traffic jams extended to a combined length of 975km due to snow and slippery roads.
Delays were being reported right across the country on Thursday as KNMI warned motorists for slippery roads as snowstorms moved in from the North Sea. The snow front reached a line between Breda and Enschede by about 6am.
KNMI had issued its a weather warning from 10.45am on Wednesday to 9am on Thursday. But the bureau said on Thursday morning that weather patterns had improved and no longer warranted a warning.
It had previously warned of snowfalls that could possibly occur in combination with strong wind gusts and residents. The storm front eventually passed through with wind gusts of up to 105kmh.
The KLPD had dispatched its officers out in force on the motorways on Thursday to help maintain safety in the slippery conditions. A total of 59 KLPD vehicles and five peak-hour teams had been scheduled for duty.
But snowfalls on Wednesday night did not lead to the feared chaos on the nation’s roads, with reports estimating about an average number of collisions occurred. The expected snowfalls hit the Netherlands later than forecast, arriving at about 5pm in the north of the country and reaching southern Limburg at about midnight, KNMI said.
Despite this, seven people were injured in a collision on the Reinerswei between Grou and Jirnsum in the province of Friesland during a heavy snow storm on Wednesday, newspaper De Telegraaf reported.
A car with four women and two children allegedly veered onto the wrong side of the road and collided with an oncoming car, knocking it into a roadside canal. A passer-by helped the male driver out of his car.
The four women — aged 46, 22, 19 and 16, of Warten — and the two small children suffered neck and back injuries. The 57-year-old man, of Grou, reported similar complaints.
Meanwhile, train traffic between Apeldoorn and Amersfoort was temporarily delayed on Wednesday after a train hit a large clump of snow.
Premier division football in the Netherlands was also affected, with the matches between Heerenveen – Ajax and ADO Den Haag – Roda JC were abandoned before kick-off, while the NAC – FC Groningen duel was abandoned after 17 minutes of play with the score at 0-0. All matches will be replayed.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch new