‘Thunderbolt and lightning, very very frightening’

Thunder Rumbles as the Storm Clouds Gather - Mark Warner
Leon Xuereb

The late great Freddie Mercury may have had Malta and Gozo in mind when he sang those famous lyrics. Loud thunder was heard in many parts of the Maltese Islands and rain suddenly bucketed down in localities including Ta’ Xwejni, Valletta and Madliena early Wednesday afternoon.

According to the MaltaWeather.com Facebook page, the weather is basically the result of a stagnant cold pool of air around the Maltese Islands because of an unseasonably persistent upper-level trough.

Ray Biagio Pace

“This contrasted with a very warm sea surface temperature helping to generate instability and therefore thunderstorm clouds,” a spokesperson told Newsbook.com.mt.

According to the Gozo Weather Facebook page, the weather across the central Mediterranean has been dominated by instability. This is due to a ‘cold pool’ which has remained almost stationary over the Sicilian Channel. The ‘cold pool’ formed when cold air in the upper levels of the atmosphere penetrated our region from over the Atlantic. This cold air came to rest above the hot air locally.

“This, coupled by a very warm sea, instigated convection across the Mediterranean. This convection led to the development of isolated showers and thunderstorms. The strongest of these affected the Maltese Islands today. A total of around 20mm were measured across the wettest localities in southern Gozo and northern Malta. The chance of isolated thunderstorms will prevail till at least Saturday, as the ‘cold pool’ continues to be fed cold air from over the Atlantic,” Newsbook.com.mt was informed.

In the meantime, Red Cross Malta stated that due to deteriorating weather conditions, several beaches have their Double Red Flag put up. It advised avoiding swimming in these areas as lightning strikes on the water are very dangerous and possibly lethal.