Sea rises to near critical level on the west coast

While weather forecasts suggested storm winds could cause sea levels to rise beyond critical points in several places on Estonia's west coast by Saturday night, the weather calmed before this could happen. The Rescue Board monitored the situation from a temporary headquarters in Pärnu.

Weather forecasts warned that strong westerly winds could cause the sea level to rise to critical levels by the final hours of Saturday. By midnight, the water level in the resort city of Pärnu was measured at 150 centimeters over the Amsterdam Ordnance Datum (NAP), down from 163 centimeters two hours earlier.

The water level stood at 131 centimeters over NAP in Haapsalu and 98 centimeters in Roomassaare, Saaremaa at midnight.

Levels considered critical are 180 centimeters in Pärnu, 160 in Haapsalu and 170 in Kuressaare.

Head of the Rescue Board's temporary headquarters in Pärnu Vaiko Vatsfeld said winds should begin to die down on Sunday morning.

The police closed some streets leading to the beach in Pärnu on Saturday to keep away so-called storm tourists and prevent vehicles being left in places where they could be flooded. Some streets were also closed in Haapsalu and Saaremaa.

ERR's Pärnu correspondent Ester Vilgats said Pärnu experienced very strong winds and extraordinarily high waves. While Pärnu experienced some flooding on streets closest to the sea, the situation did not become critical.

Power transmission network operator Elektrilevi said the storm had left 2,325 clients without power in Saare County and a little over 500 in Pärnu County by 11.15 p.m. and Saturday.

A storm on the night of January 9, 2005 that saw 38 meters per second winds rose the sea level in Pärnu to roughly 315 centimeter over NAP, with winds and flooding causing damage to 775 houses and around 300 people evacuated from the city. Eleven people were taken to hospital with hypothermia. One person perished.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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