Malta suffers record number of storms in 2018

(source: Unsplash/Matt Hardy)

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Malta saw the stormiest year on record in 2018, with 16 thunderstorms hitting the islands only in October, making the month the most turbulent ever, the Meteorological Office at Malta International Airport said in a press statement recently, based on its records.

“While the Maltese Islands remain synonymous with warm, bright and sunny weather, the country has seen its fair share of rather extreme weather in recent years,” the Met Office says.

Although bouts of rain could come to the archipelago in the summer peak months of June and August, the office says that the so-called shoulder months — those during the spring and autumn when the temperatures can fluctuate drastically — will bring drier and more pleasant weather. A white winter stays highly unlikely for this year too due to the surrounding warm sea.

Weather forecasting has come a long way since the first meteorological office in Malta opened its doors, evolving from drawings on maps and extensive calculations to extraordinarily high-resolution digital models, the Meteorological Office says. “Initially, the meteorological office was only able to provide three-day forecasts. Advances in technology, investments in new equipment and further training then permitted forecasters to provide up to seven-day forecasts,” the press statement says.

The office gathers detailed weather data from various localities around the Maltese Islands, allowing a meteorological systems administrator to draw up monthly weather reports, accessible to the public through Malta International Airport’s website.

Malta’s sole weather service provider Met Office is responsible for issuing weather warnings. The colours allocated to weather warnings are yellow, amber and red, with the severity of expected weather increasing with the saturation of the colour warning.

Last year’s storms lingered on to the beginning of 2019. Following what many tagged as a historic storm of the recent years in Malta, the Maltese government turned to the European Commission at the beginning of 2019 to ask for funding to deal with the damages the archipelago suffered. Rough waters forced Virtu Ferries to cancel routes and launch extra services to make up for the outage. Heritage Malta was also forced to temporarily close down some of its sites to deal with damages caused by the heavy winds and rainfall.