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Storm Otto the strongest since early last year, but Copenhagen apartment building sturdier than suggested by the BBC

Loïc Padovani
February 21st, 2023


This article is more than 1 year old.

Winds peaked at hurricane-strength 38.1 m/s in northwest Jutland

Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Scotland and the north of England all felt the brunt of hurricane-strength Storm Otto on Friday evening, which caused lots of power failures in the region.

In Scandinavia, transport services were cancelled and traffic routes, such as the Øresund Bridge, were completely closed for several hours. Many trees fell down, but overall not too much damage was sustained, and life as normal more or less resumed on Saturday.

Wind speeds reached 100 km/h at Copenhagen Airport and were hurricane-strength in some areas.

According to the Beaufort Scale, anything over 32.6 m/s equals a hurricane, and in Hanstholm in northwest Jutland, gusts reached 38.1 m/s (around 117 km/h) as the storm peaked.

READ ALSO: Storm Otto to impact Copenhagen traffic today

Unrequited forecasts
Water levels did not rise enough to threaten Danish coastlines, as was feared.

“Along the north coast of Zealand, there is a risk that water levels could climb a metre,” warned Anders Brandt, DR‘s weather presenter, before the storm arrived.

Fortunately, as TV2 reported, the storm didn’t pose a major threat to Danish coasts and cities.

Inconsistent reports
DR wasn’t the only one way off the mark, as the BBC also dropped a clanger, reporting: “In Copenhagen, 280 Danes had to leave their apartment building because it wasn’t safe to stay there anymore on Friday evening. The 1950s flats have a design fault and cannot withstand high winds.”

It turns out the 280 residents of three blocks at Østerbrogade 110, located between Skt Jakobs Plads and Nøjsomhedvej, were in fact instructed to remain in their building due to fears they might be hit by falling debris from the building’s copper roof. The road was accordingly cordoned off at around 22:00.

“It turned out that the roof boards had functioned as sails, so that both the rafters and the roof structure had come loose. We asked the residents to stay indoors because it was dangerous to go out,” explained Martin Kjærsgaard from Hovedstadens Beredskab to Kobenhavnliv.dk.


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