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Flooding in Malta 2019

9 January, 2019 0 comment

Yesterday I reminded my Facebook friends of the dark secret that Malta holds… everyone will promise you short, mild winters, but what they don’t mention is that you’ll still end up being freezing! We had a giggle and shared top tips on keeping warm inside.

malta weather winter 2018 rain storm

Flooding in Malta 2019

But today, something a bit more serious; flooding in Malta. Considering this happens every single year, I am not sure why better infrastructure hasn’t been built to deal with it. There are whole towns, like Birkirkara, sitting in valleys, that dangerously flood the moment anything from a short shower, to a torrential downpour begins. Then there are low lying towns, like Gzira, where the sea is so close, yet not close enough to build any kind of proper drainage.

It’s true, winter’s in Malta are some of the best in Europe, but the country is not well equipped to deal with the kind of rain it experiences every single year. Showers will be short, no long, drizzly days like in the UK, but whilst they are short, they are heavy. The kind of rain that hurts as it pummels you, the kind of rain that drowns out the sound of the TV, the kind of rain that, in just 15 minutes, can flood entire towns.

Flood Warnings in Malta

If you get caught in one of these showers, don’t try to brave it by carrying on. If you’re walking or in a car; stop. Especially if you are in a flood prone area, you’ll soon be up to your knees (or your engine) in sewage filled rain water. Your clothes will be ruined. Your car will be destroyed.

Tips for Flooding in Malta

If you’re likely to be out and about on foot:

  • a light weigh rainproof coat (anything too thick will have you sweating)
  • a pair of knee-high wellington boots (none of these ankle length ones)
  • don’t bother with the umbrella (the wind in Malta makes them mostly more of a hazard as they flip inside out and get blown from your hands).

If you’re in a car and can see the street in front of you is flooded STOP. Better to cause a temporary hold up as you all wait for the rain to stop and the water to drain, rather than a long term jam because your engine has flooded and your car has stopped. Or worse, you’ve lost control and drifted into another car, a building or a person.

It sounds like common sense but I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve thrown on a thick, fleecy raincoat and ended up soaked anyway, but from sweat rather than the rain. Or the times I look out of my office window and see cars and even busses trying to drive through the flooded streets and ended up stranded. During these short showers, any flood prone areas become total chaos. So just wait. Take that time to grab a cup of tea and relax, read a book, call your Mum to catch up. It’s not often we get given a surprise amount of time, so stay safe and enjoy it.

If you see it’s raining and about to flood, call your friend, your work, your appointment, tell them you’ll be a bit late and wait for the water to drain. Before you know it, the streets will be clear (except for those drivers who are now waiting for their engines to dry out!) and the sun will be shining and you can get back to your busy day.

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