Grue-ruinée au port d'Anvers

HIGH-RESOLUTION WIND FORECASTS AS A SOLUTION FOR SAFETY ISSUES IN SEAPORTS

Antwerp Port, December 9, 2019.

36 hours before the disaster, the weather forecast was calm conditions, however before the disaster the harbor wind intensified and threatened the ships at the dock. As the wind shook the ships more and more, the port authorities suspended sailing in the area. The accident occurred a few minutes later: a 328 m container ship collided with a terminal causing a port crane to collapse. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

Encountering an unexpected gust of wind?

The weather forecast from the previous day’s morning did not indicate strong winds for that afternoon. By noon the wind was still moderate.

Antwerp Airport measured 20 km/h (11 knots) winds with 40 km/h gusts (21 knots) at 12:00, afterwards the speed increased rapidly, reaching 50 km/h winds (27 knots) with 72 km/h (39 knots) at 14:30.

Wind-measurement-Antwerp-port
Raw-weather-forecast

 

 

When observing the forecasts made the afternoon of the previous day or the morning of the same day, we can observe that the increase in wind speed had been forecasted by the weather services as shown below.

Additionally, forecasts made a few kilometers inland do not predict this wind gust. The wind forecast must therefore be made for the specific location of interest.

Similar wind forecasts several hundreds of kilometers away

A few hours before the incident, the same storm was spotted in a well-instrumented port on the same seafront, about 400 km from Antwerp. Meteodyn, which offers a forecasting service for large seaports, had accurately predicted these high wind levels.

Measurement-and-forecast-with-Meteodyn-system-1

As in Antwerp, the forecast made the day before is less accurate than the one made four hours ahead. This is particularly noticeable at the time of the peak. The instruments measured 25 m/s (48 knots) for the average speed and the forecast of the day before was 21 m/s (40 knots), while the forecast 4 hours before was 24 m/s (46 knots).

The system adjusts in real time to all new weather data from several providers, as well as the measurements taken at several points in the port. Thus, this system allows pilots to anticipate as closely as possible the need for tugboats, in order to maneuver safely in the port, even in strong wind conditions.

In addition to forecasts in graphs, the Meteodyn application provides high-resolution wind maps over the entire port area. This improves the local forecasts.

GPMH-coup-de-vent-zoom-copie

Example of real-time cartography; the resolution of station model here is 515 m. It adapts to the requested zoom level.

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