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WATERSPOUT TO THE SE OF MALTA – 28th September 2008

On 28th September 2008, a waterspout was seen to the southeast of Malta, just off the coast at Marsascala and Marsaxlokk at around 8.45am. This lasted about 10 to 15 minutes. The cloud that produced this waterspout seemed to be a large cumulus or shallow cumulonimbus as no lightning strikes were reported from this particular cloud. The was a upper-level trough to the north and a cold front to the south. The atmosphere was unstable and wind shear was also present (see sounding to the right), although it was in an abnormal anti-clockwise direction. The lifted index was of 0.2 with a CAPE of only 198J/kg.

Sea temperature was a warm 24°C. This paticular cloud moved NE-SW and did not affect any land area of the Maltese Islands, although a squall from this cloud caused the sinking of a cabin cruiser which took in a lot of water and sank due to localised high waves.

PHOTOS TAKEN BY CAROLYN CINI, IVAN BARTOLO, MICHAEL DELMAR & JAMES DELMAR.