Wrecked by the lashing winds
The worst of the weekend’s devastating storm is over but Malta should brace itself for more bad weather, at least till Tuesday, according to the Meteorological Office. The warning comes after a heavy storm with northeasterly winds gusting at force eight to nine, caused damage across the islands between Friday and Saturday, uprooting trees and destroying properties, in one of the worst storms in recent years.
The Civil Protection Department was overwhelmed with reports of around 80 incidents over the night, ranging from walls and billboards collapsing onto cars to solar panels carried away by strong winds. The Ta’ Qali stadium enclosure top, the road at Rinella Bay, the crucifix on top of Birkirkara’s St Helen Basilica and overhead power lines in places like Fawwara, Marsalforn and Xewkija were among the more prominent casualties. There were several reports of damaged property across the islands, including a house on the outskirts of Xagħra and boundary walls in Paceville, Mellieħa, Msida, and on the road from Victoria to Nadur. Stones from damaged walls and balconies dented cars but nobody was injured.
At one point, a number of roads were temporarily blocked when large branches fell on the roads, including sections of the Birkirkara bypass, Aldo Moro Road in Marsa and Ċensu Busuttil in Iklin.
In Gżira, a number of moored boats were damaged when they were spat out onto the shore. The storm peaked early yesterday morning, when it was combined with driving rain. However, the wind eventually turned south-easterly, dying down for some time in the morning before picking up again in the afternoon. The wind from the southeast also brought with it a desert-sand shower from Libya. By yesterday afternoon, the Met Office issued another warning saying it expected gusts of force six to seven. Tomorrow the wind is expected to turn northeasterly again and become strong again towards the afternoon, Met Office Director Joe Schiavone said.