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The Storm of 28th October 2013.

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Some notes by Rosine Bijlsma writing about the storm as she recalls it in the town of Den Helder, Noord Holland, the Netherlands. (see maps at end)

After surviving nearly being decapitated by a sheet of metal roofing yesterday, things have calmed down a bit! We had gale-force winds terrorizing our town (and country). Yesterday, on my way to a friend’s house, tree branches were covering the pavement and streets and I am not talking twigs here! On this short walk of basically only three streets I encountered at least ten uprooted/broken or torn/blown over trees!

Unfortunately no photos because I feared my camera would fly off and later on I couldn’t be bothered so you will just have to take my word for it.

Street access was blocked by big trees that had lost the battle with the wind and traffic was chaos. Loads of fences, roof-tiles and wheely-bins decided to become airborne. We were going to collect the children from school and the road was being blocked off for cars by a few men, we thought because of a fallen tree, so we just continued along the pavement alongside a very recently finished new apartment building. The security guys stopping the cars did not say anything to stop us and so we continued our journey when suddenly there was a tremendous noise and some huge sheet of metal roofing approximately 2 meters long and 1 meter wide sailed through the air and landed (luckily) right next to us on a strip of garden where as we saw only then another one of these sheets was already on the ground. It literally sailed past our heads. I asked, (slightly irritated by my close encounter with at least a hospital visit), the guy stopping cars on the other side of the building if he diverted cars because of a tree or because of the roof flying off the building and he just stared at me blankly and said it was the latter!

So once again I find that foot passengers and cyclists are not important – as long as cars don’t get damaged everything is hunky dory! I decided it wasn’t worth screaming at a looser with a hard-hat! And we continued walking.

At the school two big trees had toppled over, one on the fence of the playground and one nearly missing the side entrance. We had to climb over that one to get to the kids who were coming out this way by exception because on the side they normally left and entered the building tiles were flying off the roof so it wasn’t safe. It’s a miracle that no-one got hurt or killed in the town centre because I think on most major access routes there were at least one or two trees that ended up on the road. The waves of the sea went so high they came over the entrance road/path to the dijk (dike) so we could have had a spongebob living situation and now things are back to being boring!

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 Maps.

HollandThe location of Den Helder in Noord-Holland

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Den Helder mapDen Helder town

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