Simulation meteo-tsunami 29 May 2017 along Dutch coast

Published: 5 July 2017

Deltares simulated the 'meteo-tsunami' of May 29th that occurred along the Dutch (South) West coast. The simulation shows how the waves were generated and propagated along the coast. The simulation was performed using a schematic and simplified wind and air pressure profile and gradient. The result shows the water level as a function of time at sea and along the coast.

In the early morning of May 29, 2017 suddenly a number of noticeably high waves were observed along the Dutch coast. The high waves, also called meteo-tsunami, were caused by the active line of thunderstorms (a so-called squall line). Along the front, an air pressure disturbance developed that was clearly visible in the measurements on KNMI stations. In some places an air pressure disturbance of more than 5 hPa has been measured. Around 5:00 am the squall line was located at the Zeeland coast, with the most active part remaining offshore. Afterwards, the thunderstorm moved parallel to the coast towards successively South and North Holland at a speed of approximately 75 kilometers per hour.

The Delft3D animation shows the time line (in MET) of the water level along the coast. The white dots reflect the locations of Vlissingen, Hoek van Holland and Den Helder.

“These types of waves occur more often, but are not always noticeable due to low water level, or simply because it happens when there are few people on the beach, “says Deepak Vatvani. “In other countries, such phenomena have also been observed. It would be good to investigate whether this will happen more often in the future and how serious the risks would be, if this phenomenon occurs when the beach is busy.”


Time evolution (in MET) of the observed  and simulated meteo-tsuami 29 May 2017 along the Dutch Coast in Vlissingen, Hoek van Holland and Den Helder.