TEMPERATURES IN MAJORCA FALL TO NEARLY -4ºC AS SNOW SETTLES ON THE BEACHES AND 140 KILOMETRES PER HOUR WINDS BRING DOWN TREES AND CAUSE TRAFFIC CHAOSBy Humphrey Carter
IT was warmer in Scotland than in Majorca yesterday with temperatures as low as -3.6ºC in Lluc as heavy snow and 140 kilometre per hour winds hit the Balearics. The heaviest snow fall in the Balearics since 1999 turned the beaches white and caused widespread disruption. The Guardia Civil had to close three roads in Majorca, thousands of pupils struggled to get to school and ferry services were also postponed and cancelled. In Ibiza, the island's main port and La Savina in Formentera were closed with all sea links between the two islands cancelled. Early yesterday evening the Trasmediterránea ferry Saroll from Barcelona was moored off outside the port of Ibiza waiting for a window in the weather to get into port. The fast ferry Federico García Lorca, which was forced to turn back to Palma from Ibiza on Tuesday, was still moored up in Palma while the crossing of the ferry Manuel Azaña from Valencia was cancelled. All of the region's airports managed to remain open and operate pretty much as usual although one Palma to Ibiza flight was forced to turn back, unable to land because of cross winds reaching 109 kilometres per hour. Flights to a number of provincial airports in northern Spain were delayed or cancelled as a number of airports were closed by heavy snow. Three other flights from Palma to Ibiza were cancelled. Winds in Palma reached gusts of 80 kilometres per hour forcing the fishing fleet to remain in port. In Felanitx, Manacor, Vilafranca and Artá, some of the regions worst hit by the snow, a number of students and teachers were unable to get to school yesterday. In Felanitx, the school bus service was cancelled and only 40 per cent of students turned up for class. In Lluc, students were trapped at the private college unable to get home last night because of the snow blocked road down from the monastery which was only passable by vehicles fitted with snow chains. Police were also making drivers in the Serra de Tramuntana and Selva use chains on some roads where, as temperatures started to drop yesterday afternoon, black ice was also posing a danger. The road between Randa and the Cura monastery was also closed to all traffic. But it was not just the snow causing problems, but the hurricane force winds. In the north of the island, in particular the Port of Pollensa which always seems to get hit by the eye of the storm, trees were brought down and roofs damaged. The high winds also caused traffic problems with a series of minor accidents throughout the day. Many places can expect to wake up to find a blanket of snow outside the windows this morning, especially in the north of Majorca. However, as the day develops, the snowline will start to lift with outbreaks of heavy rain forecast this afternoon and snow above 1000 metres. Daytime temperatures will rise slightly but tonight, they will drop to freezing again causing black ice on the roads. The north east of Majorca and Minorca had best brace themselves for more gale force north easterly winds of up to 110 kilometres per hour. Despite the fact that the whole country has been brought to a near stand still, met office bosses in Madrid last night defended their decision not to issue extreme weather warnings as the cold front sweeping the country is normal for this time of year. This is classic winter weather with heavy snowfalls in the classic areas, met office boss Ángel Rivera said. Not too sure about snow on the beach in the Balearics being normal however...
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