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STRONG WINDS DUE TO MEDITERRANEAN CYCLONE – 22nd October 2007

Gale force winds buffetted the island on 22 October 2007, giving the Civil Protection Department a busy time as trees were uprooted and moored boats sank. The force eight wind howled throughout the night as thunder and lightening ripped through the sky. CPD head Peter Cordina said his men were kept busy clearing roads from fallen trees and branches. One man had a lucky escape when his boat, moored in St Julians, sank. “The man got onto another boat to try and save his own, but unfortunately that boat started to sink too,” Mr Cordina said. In the end, members of the CPD had to come to his rescue. A number of other boats were torn away from their moorings and met the same fate, he said.

Three electricity poles were toppled over during the night, a spokesman for Enemalta said. The wind also pushed down a periphery wall surrounding part of Mater Dei Hospital. On Sunday night the police reported that branches ripped off a tree fell onto a moving car and the two occupants had to be treated for shock.

This strong WNW winds with gusts of over 100km/h at Melieha was caused by a Mediterranean Cyclone that formed over Sicily due to the bitter cold northerly winds clashing with the warm Mediterranean Sea. Rainfall totals were not especially high with mean rainfall only 22mm or so, but at one time during this storm, around 10pm or so at Cirkewwa, it seemed like a hurricane with torrential rainfall and very strong winds.

PHOTOS TAKEN BY JOE ZAMMIT & PAUL ZAHRA