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DAMAGING GREGALE WINDS – 24th January 2008

A fierce northeasterly wind and rough seas caused by the clash of a low pressure system to the southeast of Malta and a strong high pressure system over Europe (as can be seen in the synoptic map to the right) lashed Malta throughout the day and caused damage all along the east coast, with boats slipping their moorings at St Paul’s Bay, St Julians and Sliema Creek. Tiles were dislodged at The Strand promenade in Sliema/Gzira. Some small boats in Spinola were smashed to pieces. Winds were averaging Force 8 and gusting Force 10 in exposed areas. Our weather station at Mellieha in fact measured gusts by to 96.2km/h.

At the Jews Sally Port, below the Valletta bastions, a Toyota Vitz was almost washed away by the waves, which carried it onto the rocks. The driver, a 70-year-old man from Valletta, was lucky to escape unhurt, having been assisted out of the car by SAG police who happened to be on a patrol nearby. At St Julians traffic had to be diverted because of seawater on the road while at Marsascala a kiosk had window panes broken and plastic chairs and tables scattered over a wide area.

The police also reported that a 59-year-old Italian resident of Naxxar was injured in the afternoon when he was hit by a water tank as he walked along High Street, St Julians. He was taken to hospital where his injuries were found not to be serious. The tank is thought to have been blown by the wind.

PHOTOS TAKEN BY PAUL ZAHRA & METEO MALTA