Dutch railway companies NS and Arriva have cancelled all services in the north of the country because of the winter gales battering the Netherlands.
The KNMI weather bureau has raised its weather warning to code red for coastal areas and the northern provinces, with winds of up to 130 kph expected in the Wadden Sea area.
One ship has reported waves of 11.80 metres high north of the island of Schiermonnikoog, Nos television said.
The Oosterschelde storm defences have been closed for the first time in six years. The forecast gales coincide with the spring tides, meaning high water levels all along the Dutch coast.
According to RTL news, by 14.45, the emergency services had already had 440 reports of damage.
Airline KLM has cancelled ‘ a significant number’ of KLM and Cityhopper flights in readiness for the bad weather. DFDS Seaways has scrapped Thursday evening’s crossing from IJmuiden to Newcastle.
The strong winds will die down marginally overnight, bringing snow flurries on Friday morning. The snow will clear and give way to drier weather with frost at the weekend, the KNMI weather bureau said.
The Netherlands was last hit by very strong winds at the end of October, when two people were killed and hundreds of trees were uprooted. Weather experts said two severe storms in a short space of time are rare.
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