Storm surge in Hamburg

17 February 1962 - 27 February 1962
Military personnel

During the night of Friday 16 to Saturday 17 February 1962, Hurricane Vincinette tore across northern Germany and the northeast of the Netherlands, with winds reaching 12 to 13 on the Beaufort scale and gusts of more than 200 kilometres per hour. A storm surge of almost 6 metres smashed through the dikes and flooded the coastal areas.

Churning mass of water

The rivers Weser and Elbe also burst their banks. In Hamburg alone, the dikes gave way in more than 60 places. The swirling mass of water took the city, the second largest in Germany and the country’s main port, completely by surprise.

Many victims

This natural disaster cost the lives of 343 people, 287 of whom came from the German Hanse town, mainly from the Wilhelmsburg and Georg districts. More than 60.000 people were made homeless in an instant. Various civil aid organisations, 8.000 Bundeswehr soldiers and 4.000 military personnel from NATO countries rushed to the city’s aid.