By Humphrey Carter
ONE of the worst winter freezes of the past century is now officially over with the Balearics no longer on category one weather alert, although sea links between Majorca and Minorca remained suspended yesterday.

All early morning road inspections were cancelled yesterday after the forecast big freeze on Sunday failed to materialise.
Come daybreak yesterday, apart from shipping, the Balearic transport network was running and open as usual.
On Sunday, despite the advice from the emergency services and the government, hundreds of people spent the day in the snow up in the mountains. No incidents were reported with traffic police out in force to maintain order on the roads.

Balearic meteorological centre chief Agustí Jansá admitted yesterday that the second cold front which moved into the Balearics over the weekend, was not as severe as the one which gripped the region all last week. Over the next few days, we will see a marked improvement in the weather and temperatures.

The only problem is the gale force wind in the channel between Majorca and Minorca which is continuing to throw up three to four metre-high waves.
Shipping line Balearia's Nixie which covers the Alcudia to Ciudadela route, has been port-bound since last Monday. Along with Cape Balear's service from Cala Ratjada to Ciudadale, it will remain so until further notice. Iscomar hopes to re-establish its Majorca-Minorca link tomorrow or Thursday once its ferry Nura Nova returns from repairs in Gibraltar.

Back on dry land, Agustí Jansá explained that the black ice will slowly disappear as the rain disperses. There will be severe frosts in the centre of the island with temperatures still forecast to fall below freezing over the next few nights.

There were still a few last flurries of snow on Sunday above 400 metres with overnight temperatures falling to -4ºC in the Serra de Alfabia, -1ºC at Palma airport and 0 in Lluc.

To combat the big freeze, power company GESA confirmed yesterday that there was a massive surge in demand for power last month.
Compared to January last year, demand was up by 12.23 percent hitting 463.886 megawatts per hour.
The sharp rise was the highest for the past five years - last January, demand rose by just 3.4 percent.
Putting the situation in perspective, GESA sources said yesterday that demand last month was very similar to June when all the region's hotels and resorts are open and nearly full.

This week, the agricultural sector is expected to present the local government with a full report of the damage caused by the cold snap.
There is growing concern that the overnight freezes may have damaged the UK-bound Sa Pobla potato crop.


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