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Denmark’s January storms could be fourth extreme weather event in three months

Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett - [email protected]
Denmark’s January storms could be fourth extreme weather event in three months
This week's rains and blizzards could elicit the fourth 20-year weather event in Denmark within a three-month period. Photo: Mikkel Berg Pedersen/Ritzau Scanpix

As many as three ’20-year weather events’ have occurred in Denmark since October 2023, with blizzards and heavy rain across the country this week threatening a fourth such occurrence.

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Danish emergency services say they are “sleeping with our boots on” as the latest wave of severe weather elicits flooding and snowdrifts in corresponding regions of Denmark.

Strong winds and heavy rainfall are resulting in snowdrifts and flooding respectively, with emergency services again needing to be on their toes after similarly severe weather caused by storms in October and December.

Over 1,800 fire services personnel were scheduled to be on duty this week in readiness to respond to disruptions caused by the weather, broadcaster TV2 reports.

“Our people will be sleeping with their boots on for the next few days. Having said that, we are -- unfortunately, you might say – well-trained with floods, so we will do everything we can in the places where our efforts are needed,” head of department Bjarne Nigaard of the Danish Emergency Management Agency (DEMA, Beredskabsstyrelsen) told TV2.

“We don't yet know how serious it will be, but we will probably soon have to restructure fire service resources if water and floods keep coming at the quantity and frequency we are seeing currently,” he added.

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Denmark has now experienced a “20-year-event” – a weather event statistically expected once every 20 years – once a month since October, according to the Danish Natural Hazards Council (Naturskaderådet).

READ ALSO: Could Denmark experience more frequent flooding events?

To be precise, those events took place on October 26th, November 10th and December 23rd.

Should flooding again reach very high levels as a result of this week’s weather, the unwanted streak could register a fourth month.

This appears likely to be the case, according to TV2’s weather reporter Jonas Damsbo, who told the broadcaster on Wednesday that some high water measurements taken during the day did indeed represent a 20-year-event.

“It is demanding and difficult to plan within the longstanding framework when something that should happen every 20 years suddenly happens several times a year,” Nigaard said to TV2.

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