Malta’s ter­ri­ble Gri­gal strikes again

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

So many things hap­pened yes­ter­day - Italy’s ter­ri­ble earth­quake, a quake near Malta and then an ex­plo­sion in a Gudja field that echoed the ex­plo­sion to­day week when the small plane crashed – that peo­ple would be jus­ti­fied to for­get Satur­day’s aw­ful Gri­gal.

Yes­ter­day’s pa­pers were full of pic­tures from the storm and per­haps we fail to give due im­por­tance to what it im­plied.

As a storm, Satur­day’s Gri­gal was far from the first league of storms in Malta. To date, and un­less con­tra­dicted, the pride of place still re­mains the Bush-Gor­bachev sum­mit Gri­gal in 1989 but you will still find some who aver that worse than that was the Gri­gal tal-Kun­ciz­zjoni on 8 De­cem­ber 1988. Oth­ers point to storms in 1979, or 2005 as be­ing bad ones. What­ever. Malta may seem at most times a pleas­ant place, per­haps too hot for many, and with too much sun. But it can also get re­ally bad storms, not much dif­fer­ent from hur­ri­canes.

Edi­tor’s pick

It is con­sol­ing that bad as it was on Satur­day, no lives were lost nor great dam­age caused. One has to con­grat­u­late the Po­lice Force and the Civil Pro­tec­tion De­part­ment for timely and pro­fes­sional work all through the storm as well as Ene­malta per­son­nel who braved the storm.

It was only peo­ple who rashly left their boats an­chored in bays that were ex­posed to the full force of the Gri­gal who have them­selves to blame when their boats be­came drift­wood on the shores.

The scenes of peo­ple for­lornly pick­ing through the drift­wood yes­ter­day at Xemx­ija was in­deed a sad scene.

The worst hit, it would seem, was the Radis­son Ho­tel in St Ju­lian’s where the rag­ing sea crashed through the win­dows and burst into the main ball­room and other ar­eas of the ho­tel.

This may have been the worst storm to hit the ho­tel since it was built and the own­ers would do well to plan cor­rec­tive mea­sures to be un­der­taken with all ur­gency.

Oth­er­wise, the roads held and peo­ple still went about their busi­ness as usual. In other times, peo­ple would have cow­ered in­doors and prayed to their saints for pro­tec­tion. While ship­ping may have stopped for the du­ra­tion of the storm, the Gozo Chan­nel con­nec­tions did not stop but kept go­ing. Though this may well be be­cause the North­East wind, the Gri­gal, is not usu­ally ef­fec­tive be­tween Malta and Gozo. This area is more sub­ject to the equally bad South-West winds and cur­rents (Lbic).

Nor did the air­port see any in­ter­rup­tion in its busi­ness.

Again, this is thanks to the pro­fes­sion­al­ism of all in­volved from Civil Avi­a­tion to the pi­lots of the planes them­selves. It is no joke to bring a 737 down in a Gri­gal. The coun­try must re­mem­ber it must be pre­pared to face up to storms, winds and floods.

It pays to be pre­pared.

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