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Jim Guidry Commentaries
North Sea Storm Prompts Precautionary Barrier Closures
by Jim Guidry
Thursday, November 13, 2014

Officials in The Netherlands recently had occasion to begin the process of closing their storm barriers due to the threat of a large surge from a storm in the North Sea.

Guidry News Service recently toured the Dutch system with a delegation from Texas A&M University at Galveston.  When I was advised of the recent threat by Dr. William Merrell, I contacted Marc Walraven, manager of the Maeslant Barrier.

“Yes, we had a big northwestern storm and surge,” Walraven responded. “So the operational team was at location. We had to close several barriers such as the Eastern Scheldt Barrier and the Hollandse IJsselbarrier. However, we just didn’t have to close the Maeslant Barrier.”

Walraven said the surge stopped short of the point that would require closing the big gate.

“At a certain moment we had a prediction for Rotterdam above the level of 3.01 meters so the operational process of closing started,” he said. “That means that the docking doors opened and the shipping was stopped. That takes about two hours. After those two hours we do have two criteria for further closure. That is that we still need a prediction of above 3.01 meters for Rotterdam and a water level of 2 meters in front of the barrier so there’s enough water to float. However, when we reached the 2 meters in front of the barriers the prediction for Rotterdam lowered to 2.98 meters. So just some centimeters short for closure, unfortunately.”

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