Denmark braced for 100km/h hour winds as Storm Malik sweeps in

Denmark braced itself for the arrival of Storm Malik on Saturday afternoon, with trains and ferries cancelled, bridges closed, and vulnerable people evacuated.

Denmark braced for 100km/h hour winds as Storm Malik sweeps in
Waves crash over the harbour wall in Hirtshals, Jutland, as Storm Malik hits Denmark. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

The storm started to hit Denmark at around 3pm on Saturday, and Trine Pedersen, a meteorologist at Denmarks’ state forecaster DMI, said that the winds would get stronger and stronger later in the evening, reaching maximum strength in the middle of the night.

“At first it will be a strong wind with strong gales, but early in the evening we will quite quickly probably reach a full storm on the West Coast, with gusts at hurricane force.” she told the Ritzau newswire. “In the rest of the country, it will more of a gale to a stormy gale, with gusts at storm force.”

Frederikssund Municipality to the north of Zealand has evacuated 20 elderly citizens, because of the risk that floods and storms might prevent them from receiving care.

The Great Belt Bridge between the Danish islands of Zealand and Funen will close from 10pm on Saturday until at least 10am on Sunday, while the Vejlefjord bridge is being closed to wind-sensitive vehicles.

Ferry company Scandlines has canceled departures on Saturday between Gedser and Rostock, Color Line has canceled all departures between Hirtshals and Kristiansand in Norway, and the Læsø ferry has cancelled departures to Frederikshavn.

Frederikssund’s mayor, Tina Tving Stauning, on Thursday warned people in the municipality to be careful. During Storm Bodil in 2013, the low-lying area of Zealand was hit by severe flooding. 

“The most important thing is to save people. There should be no people being endangered because the floodwaters are coming,” she told TV2 on Thursday. 

In many coastal cities, the emergency services on Saturday morning erected flood barriers to protect low-lying areas. 

Temporary flood barriers have already been put up around the coast of Frederikssund. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix
Emergency service personnel erect flood barriers in Randers, Jutland, on Saturday morning: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

The elderly citizens in Frederikssund are being looked after at two elderly care homes in the municipality.

As well as the cancelled ferries, train company DSB is also cancelling trains on several routes: regional trains between Aarhus, Fredericia and Esbjerg will not run on Saturday night, and from Saturday at 4pm all traffic will be suspended on seven local train lines on the island of Zealand. 

These include the Hornbæk line, the Gribskov line, the Nærum line, Lille Nord, the Frederiksværk line, the Odsherred line and the Tølløse line.

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2022 sees record wildfire destruction in Europe: EU

Europe's blistering summer may not be over yet, but 2022 is already breaking records, with nearly 660,000 hectares ravaged since January, according to the EU's satellite monitoring service.

2022 sees record wildfire destruction in Europe: EU

And while countries on the Mediterranean have normally been the main seats of fires in Europe, this year, other countries are also suffering heavily.

Fires this year have forced people to flee their homes, destroyed buildings and burned forests in EU countries, including Austria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Some 659,541 hectares (1.6 million acres) have been destroyed so far, data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) showed, setting a record at this point in the year since data collection began in 2006.

Europe has suffered a series of heatwaves, forest fires and historic drought that experts say are being driven by human-induced climate change.

They warn more frequent and longer heatwaves are on the way.

The worst-affected country has been Spain, where fire has destroyed 244,924 hectares, according to EFFIS data.

The EFFIS uses satellite data from the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How the climate crisis is hitting Europe hard

The data comes after CAMS said Friday that 2022 was a record year for wildfire activity in southwestern Europe and warned that a large proportion of western Europe was now in “extreme fire danger”.

“2022 is already a record year, just below 2017,” EFFIS coordinator Jesus San-Miguel said. In 2017, 420,913 hectares had burned by August 13, rising to 988,087 hectares by the end of the year.

“The situation in terms of drought and extremely high temperatures has affected all of Europe this year and the overall situation in the region is worrying, while we are still in the middle of the fire season,” he said.

Since 2010, there had been a trend towards more fires in central and northern Europe, with fires in countries that “normally do not experience fires in their territory”, he added.

“The overall fire season in the EU is really driven mainly by countries in the Mediterranean region, except in years like this one, in which fires also happen in central and northern regions,” he added.