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STRONG WINDS AND HEAVY RAIN – 23rd/24th September 2009

The strong east southeasterly wind on the 23rd whipped up rough seas in Birzebbuga and, to a lesser extent, Marsaxlokk. Two cabin cruisers broke their moorings in Birzebbuga. One ended up on the rocks and the other on the sandy beach. A smaller boat was smashed by the waves and quite a number of boats were quickly hauled ashore by their owners. In Mellieha a car was damaged when a tree fell on top of it. The highest wind speed in Mellieha was 98.1km/h (Force 10) at around 9.45pm with an average wind speed at around 10pm of 79.3km/h (Force 9). A gust of 70.8km (Force 8) from an easterly direction was also recorded at Mgarr at around 5.30pm.

A section of the bastion wall near police headquarters in Floriana collapsed on the 24th just before 10.30am, blocking the road. The wall borders Argotti Gardens and appears to have collapsed after this morning’s heavy rain, most of which fell in just 45 minutes! A worker at the nearby National Audit Office said they had heard a loud rumbling noise, “like somebody digging underneath our office” as the wall came down in a cloud of dust. Soldiers from the AFM’s Maritime Squadron, whose base is just down the road, were the first on the scene to render assistance. Rescuers of the Civil Protection Department checked that there was no one underneath the rubble.

The highest rainfall totals were: Sannat 68.6mm, Luqa 58.2mm, Nadur 57.2mm, Victoria 54.8mm, Xaghra 52.6mm, Gudja 51.4mm, Tarxien 50.0mm. Please note that most of this rainfall fell in just 45 minutes early in the morning at around 5am.

The bad weather was caused by a very vigorous low pressure system rapidly moving northerly from Libya.

PHOTOS TAKEN BY JASON BORG AND DORIANNE FRENDO