Code Red weather warning issued as heavy fog persists

Code red weather warning
A Code Red weather warning issued for the Northeastern Netherlands on New Year's Eve, 2019KNMI

Dense, often extremely thick fog was cutting visibility in the northern Netherlands below ten meters, prompting the country's meteorologists to issue a Code Red weather alert. The red alert, the most extreme issued by weather agency KNMI, was issued just before 11:30 p.m. for the provinces of Drenthe, Groningen and Friesland, with no predicted end to the alarm.

The overnight hours will still be very foggy, and smoke from fireworks could also complicate things. It will "only gradually improve during the day," the KNMI said.

A Code Orange alert was in effect for Noord-Holland, Flevoland, and Overijssel, including the Wadden Sea islands and the IJsselmeer region. The rest of the country was under a Code Yellow alert.

Earlier in the evening, infrastructure agency Rijkswaterstaat put out a bulletin asking that drivers stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.

The bulletin as issued following three multi-car crashes, two of which occurred miles apart in Friesland. One of those crashes involved as many as 40 cars, claiming the life of one victim, with two seriously wounded, and another 17 with more minor injuries.

Visibility elsewhere in the Netherlands was also reduced down to about 50 meters.