By Humphrey Carter
GALE force winds caused chaos with maritime traffic in the Balearics yesterday with the region remaining on weather alert today.
As temperatures dropped sharply, the strong northerly winds, gusting at speeds of between 80 and 100 kilometres per hour in the north of Majorca and Minorca, the Balearic Port authority managed to keep its ports open, although a number of shipping companies were forced to postpone sailings, waiting for the gales to die down. Trasmediterránea postponed its Milenium and Milenium II 7.45 sailings to Barcelona and Ibiza.
Shipping company Balearia was also forced to suspend its crossing from Ibiza to Denia yesterday afternoon.
The same company also had to divert its ferry Bahía de Málaga from San Antonio, where it was unable to dock in high seas, to Ibiza harbour. Snow was forecast as low as 600 metres last night, but today the snow line is expected to drop to just 300 metres in north east Majorca and Minorca. However, the long range forecast issued on Friday, failed to account for the gale force winds which will sweep across the Balearics this week.
Today, the region is on alert with winds of 110 kilometres per hour forecast to return.
North east Majorca and Minorca are again the areas most likely to be battered by the gales.
Temperatures are going to drop again today and the wind chill factor will make conditions feel much colder still.
The Civil Protection department warned last night that, in the event of its snowing in Majorca, drivers should proceed with care as the gale force winds will make driving hazardous.

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