What. A. Day.
It’s not even over yet but the 24th of February 2019 is sure to go down in history as one of the wildest days Malta has ever witnessed. Winds reaching up to a force ten have been ravaging the islands since the early hours of the morning, reaching record highs of 50 knots and causing some severe damage all over the island.
In case anyone’s been knocked out for the entire day, or you need some proof that no, you aren’t having a bad trip, here’s a run-down of everything that happened today.
1. Things started getting weird yesterday with an intense hail storm
Forcing people to abandon football games at the last minute and inches of hail to pile up on people’s balconies. This was followed by the cancellation of the Malta Marathon for the first time since its inception over 30 years ago.
2. On Sunday morning, the island woke up to some severe damage
By 7am the winds had reached 53 knots – that’s almost 100 kilometers per hour – and many buildings and vehicles had been damaged by fallen trees and rocks. A St. Julian’s eatery, Buddhamann, suffered the brunt of it and totally collapsed, needing to be rebuilt.
3. Then there was the fish thing
Actual fish were washed up onto the shore from the sea over in Xemxija, with hundreds of ‘awrat‘ left littering the streets as people drove by.
4. A St. Paul’s Bay kiosk was battered
With bottles of wine and soggy pieces of cake floating through the streets. A delicious dessert to follow up a plate of fish for lunch.
5. Some of the Maltese population stopped being scrooges for the day
The kindness of the Maltese really shone through, with several cafes on the island offering free coffees to civil workers braving the storm while the rest of us remained cosy at home.
6. The entire island organically decided to name the storm Hurricane Dnegel
I don’t think we’ve ever agreed on anything so easily. And the memes were golden.
7. Joseph and the Technicolored Gozo Tunnel
The Prime Minister used today’s storm to push for the Malta-Gozo tunnel, telling One Radio: “The weather experienced was not normal for the Maltese islands, but this is in effect another argument in favour of the tunnel between the two islands.”
8. The parable of the bread and the fish came to life
As more and more fish washed ashore, people flocked to Xemxija to grab their fair share of the fish that seemed to have been pushed out of local fish farms. Steve Zammit Lupi snapped some incredible shots that look like something out of a Biblical movie, and some memes also made an appearance.
9. Many vehicles had to succumb to the storm
With even the strongest of boats and vans falling victim to the power of Mother Nature. She was feisty today. We also saw some people being made to evacuate their homes in St. Julian’s after the Park Towers residence was flooded.
10. Some cows escaped a farm and ran through the streets
As if the fish in the north weren’t enough, the south of Malta had to deal with three cows that seemed to have escaped their farm somewhere near Santa Lucia.
11. Nobody got hurt!
Despite all the madness, despite the Civil Protection Department receiving over 300 calls for help today alone, it seems there haven’t been any severe casualties. And thank God for that.
Stay safe everyone!