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HEAVY THUNDERSTORMS AND FLOODS – 1st October 2008

In the early hours of 1st October 2008, heavy rainfall and thunderstorms caused lots of flooding in the usual low-lying areas of Malta and Gozo, with some people having to be rescued from their cars. An ambulance was one of the vehicles that got caught in the heavy water current in Birkirkara at 2 a.m. and CPD director Peter Cordina, who coordinated the various rescue operations, said the vehicle was towed to safer grounds. Once its engine re-started, it continued on its way to hospital. Fields were flooded and some rubble walls collapsed. Some trees and billboards were blown down at Bahar ic-Caghaq, which suffered the heaviest rainfall.

The severe lightning also damaged appliances and equipment mainly in Attard, Lija and Iklin. Firemen were also deployed to Popeye Village in Anchor Bay to extinguish a fire started by lightning early yesterday morning. The roof of a farmhouse in Sta Venera caved in but, luckily, no one was inside the room at the time.

In excess of 80mm was recorded within a few hours in some localities. The highest rainfall was recorded at Bahar ic-Caghaq  with 88.8mm. Other localities with heavy rainfall include: Mgarr (Malta) 86.3mm, Qawra 76.6mm, Sannat 70.2mm, Mellieha 64.8mm, Iklin 64.7mm, Bahrija 64.6mm & Msida 59.6mm. This heavy rainfall was caused by the passage of a moist frontal system. Jet stream winds aloft and a clear wind shear (as can be seen on sounding to the left above) helped to create the instability.

PHOTOS TAKEN BY FREDERICK MUSCAT