KNMI looks to make its weather warnings more local

Cloudy skies will continue to be a feature in the first half of May. Photo:
Storm clouds over The Hague. Photo:

The KNMI weather bureau is looking into the option of refining its weather warnings down to village level so that people are better prepared for localised storms or strong winds.

In June’s recent storms, for example, sudden gales wreaked havoc in the village of Leersum, making several homes uninhabitable, but a few kilometres away, there were no problems.

‘Issuing warnings at a provincial level is outdated,’ spokesman Rob Groenland told broadcaster NOS. ‘You really want to warn at the village level.’ The KNMI now plans to work with the regional safety boards to assess how more localised warnings could be issued.

The KNMI, he said, is looking at a system like NL-Alert – mobile phone messages warning of potential risks such as a major fire. ‘We can’t say with 100% certainty that there will be a sudden wind or very heavy rainfall,’ he said, ‘but we can indicate 20 minutes in advance that people should take care.’

The Netherlands is likely to be hit by more extreme weather as the earth heats up, Groenland said. ‘Now the atmosphere is slowly getting warmer, we are getting heavier storms, real cloudbursts,’ he said. ‘And the frequency of the storms is also increasing.’

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