Storm tide
A storm tide is a tide
Tides are the rise and fall of sea levels caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the moon and the sun and the rotation of the Earth....

 with a high flood
A flood is an overflow of an expanse of water that submerges land. The EU Floods directive defines a flood as a temporary covering by water of land not normally covered by water...

 period caused by a storm. Storm tides can be a severe danger to the coast
A coastline or seashore is the area where land meets the sea or ocean. A precise line that can be called a coastline cannot be determined due to the dynamic nature of tides. The term "coastal zone" can be used instead, which is a spatial zone where interaction of the sea and land processes occurs...

 and the people living along the coast. The water level can rise to more than 5 meters (17 ft) above the normal tide.

The North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

, especially the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, northern Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 is particularly susceptible to storm tides. The coastline of the German Bight
German Bight
German Bight is the southeastern bight of the North Sea bounded by the Netherlands and Germany to the south, and Denmark and Germany to the east . To the north and west it is limited by the Dogger Bank. The Bight contains the Frisian and Danish Islands. The Wadden Sea is approximately ten to...

 forms an L-shape facing northwest. For the protection of the low-lying areas along the coast, long and high dike systems have been built. Storm tides are a regular occurrence in these areas; usually, there are several storm tides each winter. Most of them do not cause significant damage.

Effect on coast line

The Danish
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 coastline changed following the flood of 1825; the North Jutlandic Island got separated from the Jutland Peninsula.

Major storm tides

  • 838, December 26, Netherlands, more than 2,400 deaths
  • 1014, September 28, Netherlands, several thousands of deaths
  • 1064, February 16, Saint Juliana flood, Netherlands and Germany, several thousands of deaths
  • 1170, November 1, All Saints' Flood
    All Saints' Flood (1170)
    The All Saints' Flood of 1170 was a catastrophic flood in the Netherlands that took place in 1170. Large parts of the Northern Netherlands, and Holland territories were overflowed. This is the flood that created the Zuiderzee...

    , Netherlands, marks beginning of creation of Zuiderzee
  • 1206, Netherlands, 60,000 deaths
  • 1219, January 16, Saint Marcellus flood, Netherlands and Germany, 36,000 deaths struck West Friesland
    West Friesland (region)
    West Friesland is a contemporary region in the northwestern Netherlands, in the province of North Holland.The region covers an area of about , delineated by the Westfriese Omringdijk...

  • 1248, a year with three storm tides in The Netherlands with major inundations
  • 1277, Netherlands and Germany, formation of Dollart
    The Dollart is a bay between northern Netherlands and Germany, on the west side of the estuary of the Ems river. Most of it dries at low tide. Many water birds feed there.- Gaining from and losing to the sea :...

  • 1277, Netherlands and Germany, formation of Lauwerszee
  • 1282, Netherlands, separates island of Texel
    Texel is a municipality and an island in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. It is the biggest and most populated of the Frisian Islands in the Wadden Sea, and also the westernmost of this archipelago, which extends to Denmark...

     from mainland
  • 1287, December 13, Saint Lucia flood
    St. Lucia's flood
    St. Lucia's flood was a storm tide that affected the Netherlands and Northern Germany on December 14, 1287 when a dike broke during a storm, killing approximately 50,000 to 80,000 people in the fifth largest flood in recorded history. Much land was permanently flooded in what is now the Waddenzee...

    , Netherlands, formation of Waddenzee and Zuiderzee, 50,000 - 80,000 deaths. Major impact on Cinque Ports in England.
  • 1288, February 5, Saint Agathaflood, Netherlands, several thousands of deaths
  • 1322, Netherlands and Belgium, Flanders
    Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

     loses all coastal islands, many deaths especially in Holland and Flanders
  • 1334, November 23, Netherlands, several thousands of deaths
  • 1362, January 16, Grote Mandrenke
    Grote Mandrenke
    The Grote Mandrenke was the name of a massive southwesterly Atlantic gale which swept across England, the Netherlands, northern Germany, and Schleswig around January 16, 1362, causing at minimum 25,000 deaths. January 16 is the feast day of St...

    (big drowner of men) or Saint Marcellus flood, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, created a great part of the Wadden Sea
    Wadden Sea
    The Wadden Sea is an intertidal zone in the southeastern part of the North Sea. It lies between the coast of northwestern continental Europe and the range of Frisian Islands, forming a shallow body of water with tidal flats and wetlands. It is rich in biological diversity...

     and caused the end of the city of Rungholt
    Rungholt was a wealthy city in Nordfriesland, northern Germany. It sank beneath the waves when a storm tide in the North Sea tore through the area on January 16, 1362....

    ; 25,000 to 40,000 deaths, according to some sources 100,000 deaths
  • 1404, November 19, first Saint Elisabeth flood
    St. Elizabeth's flood (1404)
    The St. Elizabeth's flood of 1404 occurred on or around November 19, 1404, the namesake day of St. Elizabeth. The floods were especially catastrophic in Flanders, Zeeland and Holland.The area in Zeeland and Flanders had been flooded 29 years earlier, on October 8, 1375. As a result of the floods,...

    , Belgium and Netherlands, major loss of land
  • 1421, November 19, second Saint Elisabeth flood
    St. Elizabeth's flood (1421)
    The St. Elizabeth's flood of 1421 was a flooding of an area in what is now the Netherlands. It takes its name from the feast day of Saint Elisabeth of Hungary which was formerly November 19....

    , Netherlands, storm tide in combination with extreme high water in rivers due to heavy rains, 10,000 to 100,000 deaths
  • 1424, November 18, third Saint Elisabeth flood, Netherlands
  • 1468, Ursula flood, should have been more forceful than second Saint Elisabeth flood
  • 1477, first Cosmas- and Damianus flood, Netherlands and Germany, many thousands of deaths
  • 1530, November 5, St. Felix's Flood
    St. Felix's Flood
    The St. Felix's Flood happened on Saturday 5 November 1530, the name day of St. Felix. This day was later known as Evil Saturday . Large parts of Flanders and Zeeland were washed away, including the Verdronken Land van Reimerswaal. According to Audrey M...

    , Belgium and Netherlands, many towns disappear, more than 100,000 deaths
  • 1532, November 1, All Saints flood, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany, several towns disappear, many thousands of deaths
  • 1570, November 1, All Saints flood, Belgium and Netherlands , several towns disappear, more than 20,000 deaths
  • 1634, October 11/12, Burchardi flood
    Burchardi flood
    The Burchardi Flood was a storm tide that struck the North Sea coast of North Frisia and Dithmarschen on the night between 11 and 12 October 1634. Overrunning dikes, it shattered the coastline and caused thousands of deaths and catastrophic material damage...

    , broke the Island of Strand
    Strand (island)
    Strand was an island on the west coast of Nordfriesland in modern Germany. It was formed by a stormflood in 1362 where many villages and towns, Rungholt among them, were lost and Südfall island was as well separated from the mainland. Strand island was later split by the Burchardi flood of 1634...

     into parts (Nordstrand
    Nordstrand, Germany
    Nordstrand is a peninsula and former island in North Frisia on the North Sea coast of Germany. It is part of the Nordfriesland district in the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein. Its area is 50 km², and its population is 2,300...

     and Pellworm
    Pellworm is one of the North Frisian Islands on the North Sea coast of Germany. It is part of the Nordfriesland district in the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein. Its area is 37 km², and its population is roughly 1,200....

    ) in Nordfriesland
    Nordfriesland, English "Northern Friesland" or "North Frisia", is a district in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It includes almost all of traditional North Frisia along with adjacent areas to the east and south and is bounded by the districts of Schleswig-Flensburg and Dithmarschen, the North Sea and...

  • 1651, February 22 in Germany, March 4–5 Netherlands, St. Peter's Flood
    St. Peter's Flood
    St. Peter's Flood refers to two separate storm tides that struck the coasts of Netherlands and Northern Germany in 1651. During the first storm tide, on 22 February, the East Frisian island of Juist was split in two...

  • 1686, November 12, Saint Martin flood, Netherlands, 1586 deaths
  • 1703, December 7, Great Storm of 1703
    Great Storm of 1703
    The Great Storm of 1703 was the most severe storm or natural disaster ever recorded in the southern part of Great Britain. It affected southern England and the English Channel in the Kingdom of Great Britain...

    , England, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany, many thousands of deaths
  • 1717, December 24, Christmas flood 1717
    Christmas flood 1717
    The Christmas Flood of 1717 was the result of a northwesterly storm, which hit the coast area of the Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavia on Christmas night of 1717. In total, approximately 14,000 people drowned. It was the last large flood in the north of the Netherlands. Floodwaters reached the...

    , Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavia, more than 14,000 deaths
  • 1825, February 3, Netherlands, 800 deaths
  • 1916, January 13, Netherlands, due to the many inundations this flood led to the construction of the Afsluitdijk
    The Afsluitdijk is a major causeway in the Netherlands, constructed between 1927 and 1933 and running from Den Oever on Wieringen in North Holland province, to the village of Zurich in Friesland province, over a length of and a width of 90 m, at an initial height of 7.25 m above sea-level.It is...

    , appr. 20 deaths
  • 1953, January 31/1, (North Sea flood of 1953
    North Sea flood of 1953
    The 1953 North Sea flood was a major flood caused by a heavy storm, that occurred on the night of Saturday 31 January 1953 and morning of 1 February 1953. The floods struck the Netherlands, Belgium, England and Scotland.A combination of a high spring tide and a severe European windstorm caused a...

    ) most severe in the Netherlands, leading to the Delta Works
    Delta Works
    The Delta Works is a series of construction projects in the southwest of the Netherlands to protect a large area of land around the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta from the sea. The works consist of dams, sluices, locks, dikes, levees, and storm surge barriers...

    , 2533 deaths
  • 1962, February 16/17, (Hamburg-Flut
    North Sea flood of 1962
    The North Sea flood of 1962 was a natural disaster affecting mainly the coastal regions of Germany and in particular the city of Hamburg in the night from 16 February to 17 February 1962...

    ) flooded one fifth of Hamburg
    -History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

     and claimed 315 lives
  • 2007, November 8/9, North Sea flood of 2007
    North Sea flood of 2007
    The North Sea flood of 2007 was a storm tide of the North Sea affecting the coastlines of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Norway and Belgium, starting on the night of 8–9 November 2007....

Recent storm tides

The "Century Flood" of 1976 and the "North Frisian Flood" of 1981 brought the highest water levels measured to date on the North Sea coast, but because of sea defences such as improved warning systems and dikes built and modified after the flood of 1962, these led only to property damage.

See also

  • Floods in the Netherlands
    Floods in the Netherlands
    This is a chronological list of floods that have occurred in the Netherlands, until 1500 most parts of the Netherlands were in Frisia.*838 December 26: A large part of the northwest of the Netherlands was flooded by a storm. Lack of good dikes was an important cause of this flood disaster...

  • Geography of Germany
  • List of settlements lost to floods in the Netherlands
  • Storm surge
    Storm surge
    A storm surge is an offshore rise of water associated with a low pressure weather system, typically tropical cyclones and strong extratropical cyclones. Storm surges are caused primarily by high winds pushing on the ocean's surface. The wind causes the water to pile up higher than the ordinary sea...


  • Gevaar van water, water in gevaar uit 2001 ISBN 90-71736-21-0
  • Methode voor de bepaling van het aantal slachtoffers ten gevolge van een grootschalige overstroming, Ministerie van Verkeer en Waterstaat, Netherlands, 2004
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