Updated | Gale force winds cause disruption, force parties to cancel political events

Last night force 8 and 9 winds of up to 70 knots devastated numerous areas around the island accompanied by rain and hail; the severe weather is expected to persist throughout the day

Trees on Rabat road snapped in two during the night
Trees on Rabat road snapped in two during the night

The severe weather across Malta coerced the Nationalist Party into postponing its annual conference. PN leader Adrian Delia had been scheduled to deliver a closing speech at 9:30am.

Muscat's political activity in Pieta' at the Labour Centre was also cancelled. The two party leaders will participate in radio interviews instead. 

Force 8 and 9 winds, a strong gale of up to 70 knots, caused significant damage to many areas around the island. Winds have reached a substantial high, starting at around 53 knots.

Cars were damaged by falling infrastructure
Cars were damaged by falling infrastructure

From cars to rubble walls to trees snapping and blocking roads, the reports were extensive and various. Police have said that there were power cuts reported in certain areas as well. 

The Sliema front was assailed by high waves that flooded the streets
The Sliema front was assailed by high waves that flooded the streets

Force 9 winds from a northeasterly direction were constant throughout the night with damaging gusts up to 100km/h.

The Civil Protection Department was busy all night and this morning, clearly the wreckage
The Civil Protection Department was busy all night and this morning, clearly the wreckage

Average wave heights rose to six metres, peaking at 13 metres. 

Parked cars along walls and trees were pummelled
Parked cars along walls and trees were pummelled

The meterological office reported that Malta suffered the worst already with the strongest expected winds taking place between 4am and 10am on Sunday. 

Electrical poles were damaged with cables shorn, causing power cuts
Electrical poles were damaged with cables shorn, causing power cuts

It said that this was one of the worst storms Malta had ever seen. 

The Tarxien Rainbows football pitch: the white calm before the storm
The Tarxien Rainbows football pitch: the white calm before the storm

Earlier in the day yesterday, many took to Facebook to post their pictures of 'snowmen' and hail-encrusted roads as temperatures fell to two degrees Celsius and felt like sub-zero.  

Even metal containers in Ta' Xbiex were pushed over by the storm
Even metal containers in Ta' Xbiex were pushed over by the storm

Sadly, with Carnival just around the corner, organisers and artists reported that some Carnival floats were damaged during the storm as their protective tents were pulled by the winds. 

Carnival floats take some damage
Carnival floats take some damage

Street furniture like lamposts, lights and bus stages were also damaged.

The main Golden Sands bus stage took some beating
The main Golden Sands bus stage took some beating

Electrical poles in some areas were destroyed, causing power cuts. 

Pavements were taken apart due to uprooted trees
Pavements were taken apart due to uprooted trees

Since its inception 40 years ago, the Malta marathon has been cancelled. In the interest of those participating, the organising committee said on Facebook that the 2019 Gig Malta Marathon was cancelled due to the deteriorating weather.

Even trees with sizeable barks were torn apart: a testament to how powerful the storm was
Even trees with sizeable barks were torn apart: a testament to how powerful the storm was

Despite the fact that as yet there were no reports of injured individuals, the Freeport did not resume its operations due to the storm and have stopped operating at 8pm on Saturday. 

A tree in Zejtun is felled by gale force winds
A tree in Zejtun is felled by gale force winds

The gale force winds did not affect operations at the Malta International Airport apart from one flight scheduled for Catania. 

Ghaqda Bdiewa Attivi took to Facebook to report the damages that farmers had to contend with this morning. 

"As expected, the weather wreaked havoc on our farmers' fields with some farmers already estimating damages of more than Eur 50,000 and fearing the worst as the wind blows stronger," the group said on Facebook, adding that it was heartwrenching to wake up finding your enterprise in tatters.

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