[WATCH] Severe weather batters Malta

A ship has been pushed onto the Qawra coastline by the heavy winds and strong waves as “moderate to heavy” rain is predicted to affect the Maltese Islands till late morning

The Hephaestus ran aground in Qawra. Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday
The Hephaestus ran aground in Qawra. Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday
A ship has been pushed onto the Qawra coastline by the heavy winds and strong waves as “moderate to heavy” rain is predicted to affect the Maltese Islands till late morning

A severe weather warning has been issued for Saturday as Malta is battered by strong winds and heavy rain.

A motorist was killed by a tree felled by the storm in Mrieħel and a bunker barge has run aground in Qawra, amidst numerous reports of damage caused by the rain. The 595-tonne Hephaestus is a bunkering tanker registered in Togo. Its crew has disembarked safely. A spokesman for the Ministry for the Environment said that the vessel had no fuel cargo on board. No environmental damage had occurred  so far, said the spokesman, underlining however that "the situation is fluid and ongoing." 

The Civil Protection Department and police urged motorists to exercise caution, especially in low lying areas due to rainy conditions. Police said severe flooding had hit different areas, especially December 13 Road in Marsa, Rue D'Argens in Gżira and parts of the Strand in Sliema.

Heavy seas push cargo ship into rocky Qawra coastline

116.6mm of rain – twice the average for February – has fallen over the past 24 hours. Moderate to heavy rain is predicted to affect the Maltese Islands till late morning, but chances of rain will persist till Tuesday. Very strong Northerly winds will gradually become very strong Northwest by afternoon, and occasionally reach gale force over the exposed areas of the Maltese Islands.

The heavy rain is expected to become isolated showers by the evening.

The Malta International Airport has issued a weather warning valid until 6pm this evening, which may be renewed if the situation doesn’t improve.

A satellite image taken at 8am shows the storm moving in from the north west over Malta
A satellite image taken at 8am shows the storm moving in from the north west over Malta

It said the cause of the severe weather is an area of low pressure coming from the direction of Libya, moving East.

The weather will come as a disappointment to carnival organisers and participants, whose morning activities have been cancelled as a result of the storm

The Environmental Landscaping Consortium has been engaged to clear fallen trees, freeing up CPD personnel to do other tasks. All Civil Protection Department assets are currently deployed, the majority of them carrying out pumping operations on waterlogged areas, with operations still underway. 

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