The Netherlands hit by first major snowstorm in 10 years

 Monday, February 8, 2021 


On Sunday, February 7, The Netherlands was hit by the first major snowstorm that struck the country for the first time in 10 years, disrupting rail and road traffic. According to reports, an average wind force of 8 Beaufort for an hour was measured for an hour between Enkhuizen and Lelystad between 11P.M. and midnight on Saturday. This, alongside the the snowfall, officially caused a snowstorm. It was back in January 2010 that a snowstorm of similar nature was last reported in the Netherlands.

As the cold and snow passed through northern Europe, train services were also affected by snow in neighbouring Germany, while the North Sea Britain on the other end was bracing for the impact of the forecasted Storm Darcy, as reported by Dutch meteorologists. The severe weather conditions prompted the Dutch government to close all COVID-19 testing centres for several days. The Dutch meteorological agency KNMI also declared a rare “Code Red” warning for the whole country for Sunday, warning of winds of up to 90km an hour and a bitter cold.

As per reports, most parts of the country had between 5cm and 10cm of snow but some areas received 30cm. All trains were cancelled in the Netherlands until at least 12PM, according to train operator NS. The Dutch infrastructure authority informed that motorists were advised to avoid travelling and there were around 85 reports of cars skidding off the road due to the snow. The Netherlands is currently expecting up to 10 days of sub-zero daytime temperatures, bringing joy to the skaters. Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said ice skating will be allowed if the canals freeze for the first time since 2019, but warned Dutch people to observe social distancing and other COVID-19 safety protocols.

In Germany, snowfall caused major disruption to trains in North-Westphalia, the country’s most populous region with 18 million people, as well as trains leaving Hamburg. The snow also caused major traffic delays with 222 accidents reported since Saturday afternoon, according to official reports. Heavier snow of up to 40cm was expected in parts of northern Germany overnight, as reported by meteorological service. Neighbouring Belgium also received a light dust of snow but was expecting a big temperature drop as the week progresses. In Britain, authorities issued a weather warning in southeast England for what is being termed as the “Beast from the East II”. The first “beast” in 2018 caused 10 days of snow in Britain.

The current warning in the Netherlands is for roads becoming blocked by deep snow and disruptions to bus, rail and air travel. Due to global warming, the Netherlands does not measure a snowstorm very often. The penultimate time was in January 2010. At that time, no snowstorm had been recorded for 25 years. On February 14, 1979, one of the worst snowstorms on record was measured. Back then, snow dunes of up to 6 meters were caused by extreme weather conditions.

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