Last updated 11.50am
Motorists were rescued from cars in a number of locations on Thursday as heavy rain flooded roads all over Malta.
Police, civil protection and army units were deployed as cars were swept away in areas such as Burmarrad and Żebbiegħ and roads were blocked by raging waters and stalled cars.
No one was reported to be injured, the police said, but several rescue operations were under way.
The roads between St Microelectronics and the airport tunnels in Kirkop, and near Casa Arkati in Mosta were closed as cars stalled because of the floodwaters. Part of the Coast Road was also closed because of flooding and the collapse of a wall. Witnesses said they saw cars “floating” on the Coast Road around 11.30am.
A traffic lane was also closed on the Żebbuġ to Attard road because a rubble wall collapsed. Buqana Road between Rabat and Mosta turned into a river and was closed.
Heavy flooding was also reported in Msida, The Strand in Gżira and the bottom of T’Alla w’Ommu Hill in Naxxar.
The police said they had received a report of people in a car carried away by floodwaters in Żebbiegħ. Two reports were received from Burmarrad of a motorcycle being carried away along with its driver, and a car with an elderly driver in it was also carried away.
Plastic barriers were seen being carried away in a number of areas where roadworks are being carried out, especially in Mrieħel. Cars were seen forced to do U-turns as heavy floods made some roads treacherous.
Bus service interrupted in some areas
The airport’s Met Office has issued an Orange weather warning, reporting thundery and gusty rain/hail showers in different areas.
Malta Public Transport said many bus routes were being affected by the weather conditions, resulting in a low service level.
“We are working to provide a service where it is safe to do so,” it said.
Heavy rainfall started early in the morning but the situation improved in the late morning. More rain and occasional hail was also forecast for the afternoon.
Maltese Islands Weather website said an area of low pressure had developed around the central Mediterranean, bringing warm, humid air from the south over cool, dry air locally. The atmosphere above was destabilised as a result, leading to the development of an area of showers and thunderstorms.
The website said late morning that up to 100 mm of rain were recorded in the hardest-hit areas.
It said the weather will clear up by dawn on Friday.
A video making the rounds on social media showing heavy flooding in Valley Road appeared to be old footage.
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