Major snowstorm hits Netherlands, Germany and UK


Dutch authorities declared a rare 'code red' emergency for the entire country on Sunday, February 7, 2021, as a severe snowstorm, named Darcy by their meteorologists, hit parts of western Europe. This was the first major snowstorm to hit the Netherlands since January 2010. The storm also affected parts of Germany, disrupting road, rail, and air traffic, and the United Kingdom. Dozens of people were injured, with some of them severely. 

  • While the stormy weather will end today and tomorrow, most of Europe is now in for a significant cold outbreak.
  • If models prove right, the cold will last through the end of February. This prolonged cold outbreak is associated with the Sudden Stratospheric Warming event in early January 2021 and the subsequent breakdown of the polar vortex.

Darcy dropped temperatures to -5 °C (23 °F) on Sunday and brought heavy snow to the region.

Most of the Netherlands received from 5 to 10 cm (2 – 4 inches) of snow, and locally up to 30 cm (12 inches) or more.

Eindhoven airport in the country's south was shut down while Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport delayed or canceled dozens of flights.

All trains were canceled in the country, including international services to Germany, France24 reports. At least 80 car accidents were reported on Sunday alone.

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The German Weather Service (DWD) issued an extreme weather warning ahead of the storm, saying emergency crews across the country have been put on standby.

Darcy brought dense snowdrifts and limited visibility, causing major disruptions in parts of the country, including Hamburg and Hanover.

The city of Muenster was among the hardest-hit places with so much snow on the streets that ambulances could no longer drive.

Police officials said hundreds of accidents took place on German roads on Sunday. In North Rhine-Westphalia, a total of 222 car accidents were registered since Saturday. 

Police in NRW closed several motorways after they froze and turned into an ice rink.

DWD issued its highest warnings for parts of NRW, Lower Saxony, and Saxony-Anhalt. Black ice was also forecast for parts of NRW, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Thuringia, and Saxony.

The country saw up to 30 cm (12 inches) with up to 40 cm (16 inches) expected in northern regions overnight Monday, February 8.

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YouTube video

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Darcy also brought strong winds and snow to southeast England on Sunday.

The UK Met Office has issued amber weather warnings for snow, suggesting widespread travel disruptions and possible power cuts in parts of London, the east and south-east of England, for Sunday and Monday morning.

Most of Europe is in for a significant cold, and heavy snow in parts of the continent, in the days ahead. If models prove right, the cold will last through the end of February.

Widespread overnight frosts are expected, with freezing temperatures expected during the daytime, too.


Featured image credit: Europe at 11:45 UTC on February 8, 2021. Credit: EUMETSAT/Meteosat-11


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