Dutch close sea barriers, cancel flights as storm rages

by Reuters
Wednesday, 3 January 2018 15:38 GMT

In this 2007 file photo, swans swim at the closed storm surge barrier "De Maaslandkering" in Hoek van Holland, the Netherlands. REUTERS/Jerry Lampen

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Flood prevention measures not used in a decade are pressed into service to deal with storm

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AMSTERDAM, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Storm winds forced Dutch authorities to cancel scores of flights and, for the first time, shut all sea barriers on major waterways on Wednesday.

Gusts of up to 120 kph (75 mph) hit Schiphol, Europe's third-busiest airport. More than a fifth of the planned 1,200 incoming and outgoing flights were cancelled, and many of the rest suffered long delays, an airport spokesman said.

Authorities closed the five sea barriers set up to prevent flooding in a country where large areas are below sea level.

Some of the barriers had not been closed in more than 10 years. It was the first time that all five, completed between 1976 and 2002, had been shut at the same time. (Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Alison Williams and Andrew Heavens)

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