Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Great Storm of 1953

Speaking of winter weather, The Great Storm of 1953 in the North Sea was one of the great weather catastrophes in recent history. While 1,835 lost their lives in Holland, a much great calamity was narrowly avoided - from Wikipedia:

The Schielandse Hoge Zeedijk dyke along the river Hollandse IJssel was all that protected three million people in the provinces of South and Noord Holland from flooding. A section of this dyke, known as the Groenendijk, was not reinforced with stone revetments. The waterlevel was just below the crest and the seaside slope was weak. Volunteers worked to reinforce this stretch. Neverthelesss, the Groenendijk collapsed under the pressure around 5:30 am on 1 February. The seawater moved into the deep polder. In desperation, the mayor of Nieuwerkerk commandeered the river ship de Twee Gebroeders (The Two Brothers) and ordered the owner to plug the hole in the dike by navigating the ship into it. Fearing that the ship might break through and dive into the polder, captain Arie Evegroen took a row boat with him. The mayor's plan turned out to be successful, as the ship lodged itself firmly into the dike, saving many lives.

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