Tidal Surge Floods in Northern Europe

The UK was the first country to suffer from the storm, labelled in Germany as Hurricane Xaver and in Denmark as Cyclone Bodil and in Sweden as Sven. You can read our reports of the floods in tidal surge floods in UK here.

But the storm continued on its route to strike other countries, moving down England’s North Sea coast, then on to the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and other countries on the Baltic Coast. The strong winds from the storm caused destruction, injury and, according to Wikipedia, the deaths of at least 15 people across Europe – 1 in Denmark, 7 in Sweden, 5 in Poland, 2 in UK. Below is a summary of the flooding in northern Europe caused by the storm and tidal surge.

Sea levels rose by around 3 metres on Germany’s East Frisian and North Sea coasts. Parts of Hamburg, the second largest city n Germany, suffered from flooding when water rose 6 metres above sea level. The worst affected areas were around the historic harbour and fish market.

The water was at the second highest level since records began in 1825, and triggered memories of the 1962 floods in which 315 people died. However, the German authorities were content that the flood defences had done their job overall, and those areas of Hamburg aside, the German coast had managed to come through reasonably unscathed.

floods hamburg
Hamburg Hafencity, the morning of 6 December 2013. Photo: flickr.com/photos/rktic/

Likewise in the Netherlands, where flood defences also managed to keep out water levels not seen since the 1953 North Sea floods. In Zeeland, or example, the water level along the main sea defences stood at almost 4 metres above normal levels. There were flood warnings in 4 regions along the Dutch North Sea coast, but according to Dutch News, only some parts of Rotterdam close to the river, and Dordrecht’s historical town centre. Some minor flooding was also reported at Maasluis.

In Denmark, warnings of high water and flood risk on both western and eastern coasts were in effect early on 6 December. There were some reports of floods in the Jutland region of Denmark, but also other areas close to Copenhagen, including Frederikssund, as shown in the photo below:

Several cities in the south of Sweden, including Helsingborg and Malmo, were hit by floods. Water levels were said to be 1.5 metres higher than normal.