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"Capella" storm
FLUT 1976.jpg
Flood height marker Blankenese, Hamburg.
Type European windstorm, Extratropical, Extratropical storm surge
Formed 1 January 1976
Dissipated 5 January 1976
Lowest pressure 962 hPa (28.4 inHg)[1]
Highest gust 180km/h Feldberg/Schwarzwald, West Germany[2]
Total fatalities 82[3]-100[4]
Areas affected Ireland, United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Denmark, West Germany, East Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Yugoslavia

Meteorological history[edit] The synoptic charts * illustrate the existence of two isotach maxima, both of which exceed 60 knots (110 km/h) at peak development. The first was closely associated with the depression itself and its secondary, whilst the second and more unusual maximum was associated with the interplay between the advancing Atlantic high pressure ridge and the trough off the Norwegian coast. It is this secondary maximum that has made the 1976 gales of especial meteorological interest.[5]

Forecasting and warnings[edit]


Wind damage[edit]


United Kingdom[edit]

In Somerset/Wiltshire wind blew a beech tree onto the elephant house of Longleat Safari Park estimated damage $20,000 USD, The elephants Twiggy and Chiki escaped unharmed and were later put to work pulling the remains the giant tree from their home.- Sarasota Morning Herald

All flights were halted at London Heathrow Airport stranding hundreds of passengers, while 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) winds were recorded.[6]

Having dealt with hundreds of calls to deal with felled trees and roofs a spokesman for London Fire Brigade said "you name it, and it's been blown over"[6] At a north London venue more than 400 partygoers were showered with tons of bricks and rubble as a parapet collapsed in the wind onto the dancefloor.[6] Ten children narrowly escaped when the roof of an orphanage dormitory they were sleeping in collapsed in the high wind.[6] Heavy snow reported in Scotland, farther south this brought flooding to the northwest of England and north Wales.[6]

105 mph (169 km/h) gust recorded at Cromer.[7]


Fifty miles north of the Hague in Schoorl a windmill collapsed.[8]


An inflatable plastic tent was also ripped away in the high winds near to Besancon, France, with the reptile exhibition inside destroyed, releasing 600 reptiles. Police later said they had re-captured the pythons, cobras, rattlesnakes and crocodiles.[9]

cable car at Saas-Fee-,689835&dq=belgium&hl=en

Shipping incidents[edit]

Myrina- (first supertanker built in the UK)

in all 26 sailors thought lost from the storm in the North Sea.[10]

18 ships reported in trouble at various times during the storm.-toledo blade

three fishermen since January 2 from denmark missing presumed dead.[11]

MV Capella[edit]

Runcorn, England to Stockholm via the Kiel Canal.[12] passing Lands End on New Years Eve.[12]

To the northwest of the East Frisian Islands the 840-series coaster MS Capella (call sign DAVP), registered in Rostock, East Germany began taking on water near to Borkum and reported the rudder had been broken and the ship was listing broken crane hanging over the side. After temporary repairs, the ship's command continued on. The Dutch lifeboat Carlot left Terschelling harbour to look for the Capella, however found her empty in winds of 150 km/h in heavy swells. The coaster later became unmanageable, and capsized while trying to enter the protection of Borkum and the Hubertgat, a sea of ​​Wester Ems. Despite immediately initiated large-scale rescue operations, which was hampered considerably by nightfall, and the heaviest weather, all eleven crew members were lost.[13][14]

(German wiki) Ems (river) In the sea area of ​​the Ems estuary near the island Schiermonnikoog the ship sank on the evening of 3 January. On a voyage from England to Sweden On 9 January 1976 was held the funeral service in Rostock.[15][better source needed]

crew took to life raft after radioing that ship was sinking north of island of Ameland.- Sarasota Morning Herald

This is similar to another storm of February 23, 1967 which is named the Adolph Bermpohl storm, after the name of a German Maritime and Rescue Service ship which was lost during that storm. search for the 11 member crew was unsuccessful.-

MV Carnoustie[edit]

The vessel is listed in some sources incorrectly as "Carnoesti".[16]

Storm surge and coastal flooding[edit]

Ireland and Irish sea[edit]

In western Wales the storm washed away a railway line between Tonfanau and Tywyn. with a breach near Borth.- Damage costing 250,000 in Wirral

A very large surge was recorded at Liverpool 2.14 m occurred at 23:00 2 January 1976, and hour before high water. the maximum water level was recorded at 23:20 at 5.73m.[17]

North Sea[edit]

Since 1976, no flood disaster from the North Sea has claimed lives.[18] Although reports of fatality associated with January 11/12, 1978 surge.-

a short-lived, rotating extreme wind moves the North Sea water like a centrifuge, raising the sea level along all coasts. The best example: 3 January 1976.-

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom high waters brought flooding from Tynemouth southwards along the east coast of England, sea walls were breached at Walcott, Norfolk and overtopped in Cleethorpes, Humberside causing extensive damage.[19]

flooding of farmland in East Yorkshire Bridlington_(UK_Parliament_constituency) and damage to property in the north of this constituency. flooding at Paull and Hull docks (but not city) on the south bank of the Humber The only (large) town to suffer flooding on this (East) coast was Cleethorpes at the mouth of the Humber.[20]

damage occurred in Grimsby docks, Grimsby-Cleethorpes railway, Disaster also struck on the night of January 3, 1976, but flood warnings came too late to save towns along the Lincolnshire coast from their worst night in years. Huge waves sent water and mud pouring through hundreds of houses between Cleethorpes and Skegness. Official warnings of the impending disaster were flashed to police headquarters from the Met Office only half an hour after the sea began pouring over coastal defences. Within 60 minutes, houses were engulfed in miniature tidal waves, the Grimsby-Cleethorpes railway line was washed away, hotels and caravan sites at Mablethorpe and Skegness were swamped, and offices and workshops at Grimsby's Royal Dock were badly damaged. Cleethorpes Bathing Pool was also wrecked. The Oliver Street area of Cleethorpes took the brunt of the flooding which, at its height, extended from Fuller Street to Suggitt's Lane and across Grimsby Road into Bramhall Street and Elliston Street. In some houses there was three feet of water under the floorboards.

402 homes flooded in Cleethorpes. repair of sea wall at Cleethorpes estimated at 1.5million pounds (1976 prices). Royal Air Force personnel from RAF_Binbrook assisted flood victims.Michael Brotherton (21 Jenuary 1976). |chapter-url= missing title (help). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Commons.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

Sea defences along the Lincolnshire coast generally withstood the 1976 surge extremely well and no breaching occurred, a large volume of water washed up and over the access pullovers from Mablethorpe to south of Sutton-on-Sea, flooding roads and some 85 properties. In addition, spray was carried over the wave walls onto the promenades and down the backs of the pullovers.[21]

During January heavy seas caused considerable erosion on the south cliffs of Happisburgh resulting in two bungalows hanging over the edge of the cliff.[better source needed]

damages in the UK were estimated at 100 million 1976 USD and thought likely to reach 200 million 1976 USD-


The surge passed the Belgian North Sea coast largely without incident with a water height of +2.18m at Dunkirk *in France* where the surge coincided with low tide there.- In Oostende the surge also passed with no damage.[citation needed] In the Scheldt estuary the surge coincided with a spring tide.[22] Rapid eastward movement of the storm meant that the duration was much shorter than the storm of 1953.[22]

Upon reaching the Scheldt estuary the waters began to rise The water level reached on 3 January 1976 in Antwerp the level +7.39 m, which is approximately 4 inches above the capstone of the quay wall.[22] important flooding in the area of Antwerp province.[23]

numerous floods along the tidal reaches of the Scheldt estuary and Ruisbroek was entirely flooded after dikes failed allowing water to ingress. which led to 2000 ha of land flooded in Flanders.[24] In Moerzeke 375 ha flooded, Ruisbroek 925 ha, Walem 232 ha.[22]

Flooding in Ruisbroek, Antwerp Belgium 900 houses inundated[25] The lights of the Scheldt went out: there was no more electricity or telephone service.[26] 2000 people evacuated.[18] A dike failed on the Vliet, a tributuary of the Rupel in Belgium. The village of Ruisbroek was flooded. 1/3 of Antwerp province flooded.[27]

single fatality from flooding recorded.[18]

- *!!!!!!!*


Surge was the most notable in the Netherlands since the North Sea flood of 1953 with damage to sea defences described as considerable, but with no dikes breached in the country.[28] The sea rose to a level of 3.45 m above mean sea level at Ameland. Along the coast of North- and South-Holland the sea reached a level between 3.3 m and 3.0 m above mean sea level. In the southern delta area the maximum water level was 3.6 m above mean sea level. [29] An official from Zeeland said the region had "been very lucky indeed" during the storm.[9]

West Germany[edit]

Flood record showing 1976 surge high water mark, Haseldorf marsh, Schleswig-Holstein Germany.

Highest observed tide of the 20th Century along the German North Sea coast.[30]


Wilhelmshaven: + 4,78 m NN.

to 17 m waves, storm surge (6.45 m above sea level in Hamburg). 20 levees broke. Hamburg: High damage at the port, goods in warehouses and stored. Refineries severely damaged. > 45,000 buildings damaged. Ship "Capella" fallen (11 deaths), ship collisions. Entire federal territory: wind speeds of 100 km / h, Schneeverwehun loads of up to 2 m. Numerous houses were damaged. Streets blocked, interrupted traffic connections. Electricity and water supply affected. Losses in the forestry sector, 1.5 million trees bent. Damage to agriculture and animal husbandry.[2]

between December 17 1975 ad january 22 Cuxhaven reported a total of 11 storm surges, 4 of which were classified as severe.[31]

Dikes broken on the North Sea coast and the Elbe estuary.[30] Flooding occurred in Lower Saxony at Kehdingen area and in Schleswig-Holstein at Haseldorf marsh and Christianskoog on Lower Elbe.[30] Germany dykes break at 9 points and inundate the land.[32] around 100,000 hectares of land were left under water, with 12 breach points and thousands of people evacuated.[30]

Hamburg experienced the highest tide in the 768-year history of the port.[30] St. Pauli district of Hamburg 1976 storm caused more damage in the Port of Hamburg, Surge was greater at 6.45m than the North Sea flood of 1962 which reached 5.78m. Most damage in this storm occurred in the harbour area of the city where it damaged goods stored in warehousing, with (improved) dykes around the residential areas holding the surge back.[33] It exceeds the flood of 1962 in Hamburg by 75 inches (6.45 m above sea level). 20 levees break, 10,000 people were evacuated in the region of the German Bight and Elbe Estuary. It exceeds the flood of 1962 in Hamburg by 75 inches (6.45 m above sea level). 20 levees break, 10,000 people were evacuated in the region of the German Bight and Elbe Estuary.[34] although the Hamburg port area was flooded causing insured losses of DM500 million.[20] No significant damage was caused in the city (Hamburg) area during any of these four floods (although losses amounting to some €1bn were incurred in the port in 1976.)[35]

The enormous force of the hurricane resulted in a not yet observed Tide anomaly. Once at the front of the storm field initially prevailed strong winds from the southeast, leading to a negative storm surge, thus leading to low water levels at the gauges along the German North Sea coast, this changed after passage of the warm front and associated wind shift in western and north-westerly direction fundamentally. The extremely high winds prevented from running the morning flooding at many levels completely. At the levels in the same area and in North Friesland, there was virtually none at low tide, but increased the water levels to continue. In the afternoon and evening hours including flood levels from Hamburg-St. Paul : 6,45 m. NN, Grauerort : 6.02 m above sea level. NN, Büsum 5.16 m above sea level. NN, Cuxhaven 5.1 m above sea level. NN, Husum and 5.66 m. NN achieved. These were often substantially over the past extreme values. At the levels of the Lower Saxony North Sea coast and in the Weser region, however, the current extreme values ​​either reached or were slightly below. Total directed to the hurricane damage of around 450 million DM. Severe damage was caused to the remaining non-reinforced dikes and in the harbor areas. In Haseldorfer march in Drochtersen district Kehdingen and Christianskoog dike breaches occurred. As the tide came in during the day, however, and since the February 1962 storm surge not only carried out extensive dike reinforcements, but also workable disaster plans had been drawn up, were threatened by the flooding of areas evacuated in time, or the population will be warned in time.

In contrast with the loss of life from the North_Sea_flood_of_1962 there were no deaths in the flooded areas of the city. Only in Nindorf on the coast of Schleswig-Holstein was a death recorded of an 80-year-old suffering a heart attack while fleeing the floodwaters.[30] More than 6000 volunteers were deployed in Hamburg including more than 6000 soldiers.

large losses to husbandry occurred.

10,000 hectares of land flooded in total.[36]

Injured: 56, homeless: 623 evacuees: at least 10,000. Also affected: almost all of Western Europe, 3 million km2. Fatalities: 27 Total damage: 870 million DM Insured losses: 500 million DM[2]

ship in the meadow, Meldorf Germany. -,738054&dq=norway&hl=en


high sea broke through dikes leading to flooding in Jutland, Zealand and Funen, with thousands temporarily evacuated.[28] TWO STORM SURGES HIT DENMARK, Denmark was struck by two storms surges in January on the 3rd and the 20th. at Højer in SW Jutland and this was the highest ever recorded at 4.90 metres above normal. 20,000 people were evacuated from the threatened areas. The water stopped only 10 cm below the tops of the dikes.[37] the high sea broke the dikes and flooded parts of Zealand, Jutland and Funen. Thousands of people were temporarily evacuated. At Højer the water was 4.9m above the normal sea level.[28] Police ordered the evacuation of the towns of Tønder and Ribe, and low lying areas of southwestern Denmark.- Along the West Jutland coast a programme of dike reinforcement and maintenance road construction had only been completed in 1975, designed to withstand a 1 in 200 year flood.[38]

3. januar - En stormflod i Sønderjylland under en orkan gjorde det nødvendigt at evakuere 20.000 mennesker på Tønder- og Ribe egnen efter katastrofealarm. I Nordjylland blæser en kraftig storm fra øst og sydøst flere højspændingsmaster omkuld og efterlader mange husstande uden strøm i dagevis. although 1981 storm surge/tide level was the highest of the 20th century for Esbjerg, Denmark.[39]

In Denmark the computerised advanced flood warning system failed to work.[40]

Baltic Sea[edit]

reaching maximums on the 3-4 January. Wismar 640 Warnemünde 630 Sassnitz 608 Świnoujście 628 Kołobrzeg 616.[41] January 17 surge in baltic Wismar 598 Warnemünde 590 Sassnitz 599 Świnoujście 616 Kołobrzeg 600.[41]

The storm flood levels for both 1976 and 1981 were up to 50 cm higher than those in the 1962 event.<[41]


United Kingdom[edit]

Mersey Ferry landing stage which sank was able to be refloated and in service by april 1976 for 30 years until March 2, 2006 when it sank again and was unable to be recovered.[42][43]


Severe dike failures along the Scheldt in Belgium, contrasted with the comparatively minor storm surge damage in the Netherlands, lead to the adoption of the Sigmaplan, the Belgian equivalent of the Dutch Delta Works.[44][45] The Sigma Project (after the greek letter S for the Scheldt river), was developed using the same design level of 1:10,000 each year as that of the Dutch Delta Works Project. In order to achieve that the Sigma Project included three main points:

  • 1. The strengthening and raising of 512 km of dykes along the tidal Scheldt estuary and its tidal branches (height of the dykes between 8 and 11 m T.A.W.);
  • 2. The creation of 13 controlled flooding areas where flood waters can be stored in a controlled way with negligible damage;
  • 3. The construction of a storm surge barrier near Oosterweel to protect the city of Antwerp.

These plans have since been significantly altrered with a New Sigmaplan introduced in 2005.[46]

A yearly budget of 2,000,000,000 Belgian Francs was adopted to implement the Sigma plan, and by 1991 about 75 per cent of the work was complete.[47]

The severe flooding in Ruisbroek on 2 January 1976 gave rise to a parliamentary act which allowed the Belgian National Lottery scope to launch new products and use a proportion of the proceeds for good causes.[48]

The total damage estimated to have cost 865,000,000 Belgian Francs.[47]


Total insurance payments in the netherlands estimated at 20 million Dutch Guilders.[28]dune erosion quantity of about 30 m3/m1 as an average along the Dutch coast The recession of the dune front averaged at about 10 m.[29]

West Germany[edit]

in the immediate wake of the storm disruptions, Werner Maihofer, the west German Interior minister and the only West German cabinet member not on vacation at the time, formed an emergency crisis government.[40]

Across the 4 West German coastal states a total of 60 million DM of damage to dikes occurred, with 150 million DM of property damage in Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony. Reported companies of a billion DM insured loss in Hamburg even without the failure of the dikes in the city, with flooding affecting the low-lying waterfront warehouses and machinery.[30] Total damages/losses 3 billion Deutsche Mark, insured losses 1.2 bn DM in Germany.[49] >250 Million Euro total damage.[50] 1.3 bn US$ (4.21 bn US$in 2003) in Germany.[51]

27 dead Germany. total losses 445 million €, insured losses 255 million €.-

  • 24 fatalities Britain,
  • 4 Ireland,[52]
  • 2 Belgium.[26] (1 Belgium -)
    • 2 netherlands
    • 1 france
    • 1 Switzerland
    • MV Capella 11
  • MV Carnoustie 8
    • Scandinavia 5
    • 2 Austria
    • 1 Italy [14]

26 UK, 12 wDE, 4DK, 3BE, 3nl, 2se, 1fr, 1ch, Capella 11, Carnoustie 8 total 71.

total 61

Subsequent weather[edit]

January 5, Trettondagsstormen (Epiphany storm)[edit]

Following the first storm another secondary depression formed in the severe troughing behind the 1976 storm, close to Iceland and later moving over Scotland and into Scandinavia,[53] this storm eventually coalesced with first over Denmark.[5]

"The new storm, with winds up to 90 mph, moved west from Scotland over the North Sea, slashing across Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Bringing heavy and drifting snow.[54] hurricane force blizzard across Norway, Sweden, Denmark 8 inches of snow, cutting power lines and 5 foot deep drifts blocked roads, railways and airports.- inches of snow brought down power lines and drifting snow in hurricane force winds.[55] 3-4th january Transworld58 rig anchorages snap in high seas???? [[citation needed}}


residents evacuated from south western Jutland began to return to their homes on the evening of January 3- power down in Northern Jutland for several thousand as hurricane strength winds bring down power cables[citation needed]


On west coast of Sweden shipping was severely affected, with the weather described as the worst since 1969 for Gothenburg's ferries. Low water in the harbour and snowstorms led to zero visibility. winds up to 70m/s reported in the North sea with ferry to England hit. severe storm.[56][unreliable source?] Trettondagsstormen/Trettondagsorkanen (thirteenth day of christmas) in Sweden. January 5 1976, high winds and heavy snowfall. ”Trettondagsstormen” gav den värsta sydvinden i Sverige. Medelvind på 39 m/s (90mph) at Vinga Lighthouse near the west coast city of Gothenburg.[57] Harstena 35m/s. Hundreds of traffic accidents in sweden including two chain-reaction accidents in the Stockholm area.- greater than 20 cars each. -


Oslo heavy snow, strong winds over southern and eastern Norway left half of Oslo's population without electricity. thousands returning from New Year holidays stranded as trains and transport was disrupted. The passenger ferry Sleipner was grounded off the west coast of Norway. helicopters and fishing boats evacuated 153 passengers and 7 crew. stranded tourists travelling to north cape of norway. halted air traffic at Gothenburg. Sunday January 4 saw 167 rescued from a ship as it ran aground off the coast of Bergen.[54]following low 7 dead after storm capsized fishing boat Fritz Erik off the coast of Senja, northern Norway January 5.[54] Tromsø in northern Norway was cut off, with road and rail connections impassible, city officials banned all driving within the city, to allow for roads to be cleared.[58]

January 17 Surge[edit]

later January storm on east coast surge in Baltic January 17 citation needed try hansard. followed by another anomalously high North Sea surge later in January 1976.

January 21 Surge[edit]

18-23 January 1976 formation to dissipation. caused series of surges between 19-21 january[5] Zweite Januarflut 1976 German and Danish coasts, Elbe river basin. Bremerhaven NN + 4.91 m January 21, 1976 one person dead after hurricane force winds affect Denmark.[59] damage to Hindenburg Causeway linking island of Sylt and German mainland.[citation needed] January 21 surge height was the 4th highest in Thyborøn harbour and Thorsminde harbour 1931-2005-

Calculations of a series of storm surges from the 19th through 21st of January, 1976 are under preparation.-

Do you remember January 20, 1976 Hurricane havoc.- -Birmingham Evening Mail

January 31 Surge[edit]

January 31, 1976 storm with water breaking dikes in several places through at Ribe and Tønder, and it is only half an hour extra storm and 20 inches from a flood disaster. 20,000 people evacuated.[59]


See also[edit]


119 kn (220 km/h)

External links[edit]


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