The Malta Independent 24 September 2020, Thursday

TMID Editorial: Storms - Winter and rainfall

Tuesday, 15 September 2020, 07:46 Last update: about 9 days ago

The first storm towards the end of, or after summer normally catches Malta by surprise, despite the weather warnings given.

While some people will be thankful for the end of the scorching summer heat, others refuse to believe that summer is ending.

Malta does not really have much middle ground between winter and summer. The changeover from summer weather to winter is normally quite quick, and can cause a shock to the system.

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The most physical example of such a shock is flooding when the first storm strikes. Flooding in Maltese roads has always been a problem come the first real rainfall towards the end of, or after summer.

Last Sunday was a prime example of the problem in certain areas of Malta.

The government had undertaken projects to minimise flooding in certain areas, and this has been a success. However not everything was solved.

Indeed last Sunday saw flooding in areas like Msida, Birkirkara, Qormi, St Andrew's and Marsa, and in some cases saw cars being dragged away by the waters and leaving drivers stranded. The image of two cars nearly completely submerged in water is a prime example of the terrible planning in some areas, as poor road planning and poor vision for such situations is the reason there is flooding from rainwater in the first place.

Malta should be used to such a downpour by now, given that it is a yearly occurrence, and the government should have fixed the situation in these areas by now.

Drivers, at the same time, should avoid low lying areas if possible when such storms hit the islands, as these areas are likely to flood.

The government has been undertaking major road projects and also conducting road works on hundreds of roads. It should (if it is not already) take the opportunity to implement better solutions to the flooding issue and increase its work to avoid such problems in the future.

At the same time, people with boats and yachts should also be careful when there are such weather warnings, as heading out to sea can be an unnecessary risk.

Drivers should also take extra care. It goes without saying that wet roads mean more risk if speeding.

Last Sunday’s storm however, has a more significant meaning that it normally would.

The end of the summer brings with it a potentially harsher impact on the tourism sector. Tourism has already taken a major hit this year, and it is no surprise that while tourism was restricted, less tourists like to travel to Malta outside of summer. Tourism establishments would need to prepare for possibly an even harder last quarter.

In addition to this, the country is drawing ever closer to the flu season. The Covid-19 pandemic mixed with the flu season could result in certain problems for Malta’s healthcare system. One of the main issues will be differentiating between the two, given that both have some very similar symptoms. Flu shots should be made abundantly available.

 

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