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SEVERE THUNDERSTORM – 16th November 2007

On 16th November 2007, in the morning around 8.30am, a severe thunderstorm caused some havoc in Gozo with heavy rain showers and large hail about 1 inch in diameter. The large hail dented cars and destroyed crops. A brief waterspout was also seen from Gozo. Strong lightning from this super cell cumulonimbus cloud was also present in various localities.

During the storm gusts of 93.3km/h and 74.0km/h were recorded at Mellieha and Zebbug Malta respectively. The storms were caused due to strong wind shear and very moist and unstable air over the Maltese Islands.

A warm and moist surface SSE airflow together with a drier and cool upper air westerly flow contributed to this severe weather. The wind shear situation was in fact very similar to that found in the USA in spring, as can also be confirmed from the hodograph.. CAPE readings were over 1200J/kg with a lifted index of -4.8 (click on sounding to the left above).

PHOTOS TAKEN BY BRIAN GRIMA, SUZANNE MUSCAT & MANWEL ZAMMIT