High tides and storm Pia bring flooding to Dutch coastal towns

Flooding in Den Oever. Photo: ANP / Hollandse Hoogte / Inter Visual Studio

The combination of high tides and strong winds brought by storm Pia led to overnight flooding in several parts of the Netherlands on Thursday night, and storm surge barriers all along the coast were closed.

The Maeslantkering, the 420 metre flood defence barrier at Hoek van Holland closed automatically for the first time because of the high water but opened again in the early hours of the morning. 

In Oudeschild, on the Wadden island of Texel, the water level reached 2.7 metres above NAP, or Normaal Amsterdams Peil. NAP is equivalent to the average level of the North Sea and is the standard for measuring water levels in rivers and canals  in the Netherlands.

Most of the harbour area was flooded and some restaurants could only be reached by boat. In Den Oever too, quaysides were flooded as the water levels rose.

In Harlingen, on the mainland, the water level reached 3.2 metres above NAP and several quaysides flooded. The situation was similar in Scheveningen, where roads in the port were also flooded for a time, before receding. 

In Delfzijl, in the north of Groningen, water levels of 4.70 above NAP are forecast for later on Friday morning. Guests staying at the Hotel Boegschroef were advised to sleep elsewhere to avoid being stranded. 

Pia is the first official storm of winter, with wind speeds of up to gale force 9 recorded on the Wadden island of Vlieland on Thursday morning. 

One woman was seriously injured in the storm when a tree fell on her car while driving. That incident took place in the village of Wilp in Gelderland. Police reported later that she had died of her injuries.

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