Malta’s worst storm for 37 years ‘reached hurricane levels’

Malta was battered by hurricane-force winds at the weekend, the Met Office has confirmed.

It said the terrifying winds reached speeds of 133km/h at 4am on Sunday, leaving behind a trail of destruction.

According to the Beaufort Scale, winds faster than 118km/h are classified as hurricane level.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister told Parliament that the storm was the worst to hit Malta since October 1982, when four people were tragically killed.

Joseph Muscat thanked the police, the army, the Civil Protection Department and Transport Malta staff for working to keep the public safe.

He told MPs there were 111 road accidents connected with the stormy weather on Sunday, but none were serious.

A major clean-up operation is underway across Malta with around 155 tonnes of waste already collected from the coastline.

Malta’s storm in numbers

  • Worst storm since October 1982
  • Winds reached 133km/h in Valletta
  • Highest temperature was 11.3°C in Luqa
  • Lowest temperature was 1.7°C in Dingli
  • 486 calls made to Civil Protection Department for help
  • 2,000 calls made to Enemalta reporting power cuts
  • 111 traffic accidents, none serious
  • 155 tonnes of waste collected in cleaning effort, another 30 tonnes expected by the end of the day
  • Most of the damage was in Xemxija Bay, Spinola Bay, Balluta Bay, Sliema promenade and Ta’ Xbiex
  • 50mm of rain fell on Malta during Sunday’s storm – more than half the February average

What happened during the Malta storm of 1982?

The Maltese Islands were battered by severe gale force winds blowing at about 133km/h on October 11, 1982.

Anthony Bianco, 47, and his wife Carmen, 51, died when the roof of their house collapsed in Arcades Street in Paola.

Carmen was killed instantly while her husband passed away a few hours later at St Luke’s Hospital.

Catherine Cutajar, 70, from Zurrieq, who worked for a family on Tower Road in Sliema, died when part of the house’s roof collapsed.

The fourth victim was Joseph Mangion, 20, from Hamrun. He tragically died when a wall on the roof of his home fell on top of him.

Photos thanks to: Kurt Arrigo, Carl881Claudia AnastasiVictor Fenech

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