| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

Netherlands: Rare storm brings death, traffic chaos

During a severe summer storm on Wednesday, a tragic incident occurred in the Dutch town of Haarlem, resulting in the death of at least one person. According to local police, a woman was struck by a falling tree. This unfortunate event was reported by the news agency
Roaring winds at speeds of up to 146 kilometers per hour (90 mph) swept across the Netherlands as Storm Poly hit the North Sea coast, downing trees and prompting Dutch authorities to warn people to stay home.

The government sent out a mobile phone alert calling on people to stay indoors in North Holland province, which includes Amsterdam, and to only call overstretched emergency services in “life-threatening” situations.

Poly paralyzes transport
The strongest summer storm on record severely affected transport. More than 300 flights were canceled at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, which described the situation as “dangerous … due to branches on the road, strong gusts of wind and heavy rain.”

Train traffic to the hub was suspended. Air traffic would be “very limited” between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. (between 0700 and 1400 GMT), the airport said.
Meanwhile, train operators NS and Arriva halted all services in the country’s north, and a highway north of Amsterdam was closed due to falling trees.

Transport authorities warned against driving on the motorways, where there were already reports of high winds pushing trucks over and trees falling onto lanes.

Strongest summer storm on record
Winds of force 11, the second highest on the scale, were measured in the northern port of IJmuiden making Poly the “first very severe summer storm ever measured” in the country, Dutch weather service Weerplaza said.

A gust of 146 kmh measured in IJmuiden was also the strongest ever recorded in the summer in the Netherlands, where the storm season is normally from October to April, it said.

With around a third of the country lying below sea level, the Netherlands is particularly vulnerable to extreme weather conditions and the effects of climate change. A North Sea storm on the night of January 31 to February 1, 1953 killed more than 1,836 people in the Netherlands.

  • DW