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WATERSPOUT DAMAGES YACHT – 14th October 2009

A low pressure system with heavy rain showers, especially in the northeastern parts of Malta, produced a waterspout which lasted about 20-30 minutes at around 1.30pm. The only damage was caused to a yacht Fekruna which was taking part in a 15-nautical-mile warm-up race prior to the Middle Sea Race. The waterspout snapped the mast in two. Luckily no one was injured.

As reported in timesofmalta.com, Dr Kevin Dingli, owner of Fekruna, said “We could see the waterspout developing some way away. It was huge. It kept moving about, changing direction. At one point we gybed away from it, but it came back,” explained Dingli. It all happened so quickly. When we realised we were going to be hit, we let go sheets. Then the wind caught us. We felt as though we were being lifted up, about to be thrown over, and then the mast snapped.”

There was also some wind shear on that day although this was not too pronounced. However, the waterspout could have been produced in a convergence zone of surface winds. The highest 24-hour rainfall totals from noon of the 14th till noon of the 15th were: Kalkara 24.6mm and Zabbar 26.4mm.

PHOTOS TAKEN BY MARIO ABELA, PAULINE CARBONARO & KEVIN DINGLI