Gale force winds caused damage to boats across the Balearics again yesterday.

THE Balearics took another battering from gale force winds yesterday, but again it was Ibiza and the north east of Majorca which suffered the wrath of the storm as temperatures plummeted across the region. The beach in the Port of Pollensa which was swept away by the November 2001 storms, ended up on the other side of the sea front yesterday while boats broke free from moorings in ports across Majorca as the winds proved another nightmare for yacht owners. The region was still on weather alert last night and will remain on storm footing today with conditions set to worsen and snow forecast at 600 metres with no let up in the north, north easterly winds. In Ibiza and Formentera winds reached 110 kilometres per hour and in Majorca and Minorca 90. The gale force winds led to the closure of all sea ports in Ibiza and the cancellation of ferry links to Alcudia, Palma and Tarragona. Majorca's potato farmers yesterday claimed that the recent spate of freezing weather has destroyed 76 per cent of the October crops and cost them 4.6 million euros. The secretary general of the Balearic agricultural association, Biel Company, said yesterday that the wind, rain and hail has wiped out Majorca's potato export market. He added that there is little point harvesting what the gales have left behind of what was sown in October which, in a normal year, would have been one of the earliest potato crops in Europe, hence its huge export value. owever, the association believes that farmers should push ahead with what is left in order not to lose overseas clients. As soon as there is a window in the weather, the October crop will be picked as quickly as possible and steps are being taken to protect what is left of the November and December crops to meet demand in the UK, Scandinavia and Germany.