Yesterday marked the first day of winter, and Malta definitely felt the full brunt of nature as gale-force winds battered the islands all day. With forecasts warning of strong Force 7 winds, many Maltese people were bracing for a long and windy day, and the day did not disappoint.
With some places even registering gusts of Force 8, 9 and even 10 winds, here’s what went down on the 21st of December, 2017.
1. As dawn arrived, the Gozo Ferry switched to Ċirkewwa’s South Quay
With strong Grigal winds forecasted for the rest of the day, the ferry service pre-empted the whole thing by switching the location of its Maltese quay. While not an entirely rare occurrence, this really helped cement the whole “Official Beginning of Winter” sentiment that would persist for the rest of the day.
2. Soon, beaches around Malta started feeling the effects of the strong winds
The southern bays and beaches around Marsascala saw palm trees being tested to their limits, with the sea rising up to swallow the coast. The scene was pretty much the same all the way up north in places like Buġibba.
3. The Grand Harbour made for some stunning shots
Being one of the most exposed areas to the open sea, Valletta and Kalkara quickly saw huge waves making their way to the shore. What followed were stunning shots of waves crashing against the fortifications, lighthouse and breakwater.
This guy couldn’t even hold the camera straight at one point
4. Quickly, the rough sees made it to Manoel Island
And, as expected, small boats like this one didn’t fare too well.
5. As usual, the Sliema-St.Julian’s front made for some awesome (and frightening) photos and videos
6. By the afternoon, Valletta was officially colder than London
Temperatures for the rest of the day struggled to even reach 10°C most of the time, with the absolute highest all day registering at 11. By the late afternoon, apparent temperatures plummeted all the way down to 6°C.
7. Soon enough, the streets along the coast started to flood
What with the frequent bouts of rain and the large amounts of seawater being blown into the streets, this was just waiting to happen.
8. Seaside towns weren’t the only ones affected
In Birkirkara’s Valley Road, two large trees snapped and were blown onto parked cars and oncoming traffic. Several vehicles were damaged as a result, including a parked police motorbike which got the brunt of one of the huge tree trunks.
Fortunately, no one was injured in the incident, with one bystander saying he feels very lucky to have survived the whole thing.
Photo by Petra Coppini
Photo by Charlet Fenech
With cold temperatures and strong winds hitting the rest of Europe (it actually snowed on the beach of Rimini yesterday), the weather back in Malta is looking a little better for the rest of the week.
Popular Facebook group The Weather Page Malta last night reported that the “worst is over and the weather will slowly improve”. In fact, the temperatures will go all the way up to 17°C and have relatively milder lows of 8°C from Saturday onwards, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The wind will gradually decrease over the rest of today, but we might still experience bouts of Force 4 and 5.