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Floodwaters rise as Dutch watch and wait

AP reports - Dozens of farmers were warned to evacuate land north of the Dutch capital Thursday as a dike protecting the area threatened to collapse.

Robin Utrecht / AFP - Getty Images

A Dutch local resident watches floodwaters through his window, in Dordrecht on Jan. 5. Gale force winds and heavy rains are expected along the Dutch coast. About a quarter of the country sits below sea level.

Local mayor Ben Plandsoen told national broadcaster NOS that a polder — reclaimed land that is drained by pumps and mills — would likely be submerged under some 40 centimeters (16 inches) of water if the dike protecting it breaks.

Catrinus Van Der Veen / EPA

People walk on a bridge over the Dutch Groninger Museum as the building is threatened by high water in Groningen, northern Netherlands, on Jan. 5. Although there are fears that the high water caused by heavy rains and storms could flood the museum, it was still open for the public on Jan. 5.

"You just don't know how the dike will hold up," he said. "It is saturated, so you don't know how much pressure it can take."

Vincent Jannink / EPA

A Dutch police officer watches the high water situation in Tolbert, in the north of the Netherlands, on Jan 5, where a dyke may fail and flood farmland, following heavy rains and storms hitting the coastal country.

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