FFE Magazine

Better defences staved off disaster from typhoon Xaver

by FFE EU News staff

 

Xaver brought traffic to a halt in many places in Northern Germany.

Xaver brought traffic to a halt in many places in Northern Germany.

 

Hurricane Xaver that lashed through northern Europe claimed 10 lives and hundreds of thousands suffered from blackouts and transport disorder but authorities said it could have been worse.

 

Xaver battered Britain, Germany, Netherlands, Poland and Southern Scandinavia and packed winds up to 158 kph. The ocean level recorded the highest in decades and caused tidal surges that smashed into dykes in Northern Germany and the Netherlands but recorded no major breaches.

 

In the Netherlands, defences withstood water levels that reached their highest point since the Northern sea flood of 1953 said public broadcaster Nederlandse Omreop Stichting.  The major flood in 1953 caused by a heavy storm claimed 2,551 lives, with 1,836 from the Netherlands.

 

Britain also reported the worst tidal surge since the 1953 disaster but Environment Agency spokesman Tim Connell said that “defences seemed to have held up well.” Xaver claimed two lives in Britain: a lowry driver when his car toppled onto other cars in Scotland and a man struck by a tree while riding his scooter in Nottinghamshire.

 

Thanks to higher and improved building design of the embankments, German authorities said the worst have been avoided compared to the severe floods that hit the region in 1962 that killed 340 people.

 

“We are much better prepared today,” said Christian Herold of the metrological service.

 

Xaver have caused blackouts in 400,000 households in Poland, 50,000 in Sweden and 4,000 in Germany.

 

Thousands of passengers were also stranded in airports as flights were cancelled at Berlin, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Gdansk and other airports. The Oeresund road and rail bridge between Sweden and Denmark closed on Thursday night but reopened early Friday.

 

Several southern Swedish cities however were still battling floods and all rail travel in the region were suspended until Saturday.

 

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