Staff Reporter THE Balearic Islands were on weather alert yesterday with the heavy rain and gale-force winds affecting electricity supplies, ferry crossings and flights.

During the night and throughout yesterday the weather played havoc in parts of the Balearic Islands. Minorca seemed to suffer the worst with heavy storms leading to floods and cancelled flights and ferries.

The bad weather forced the Minorca Airport to cancel two flights, which were being run by Spanish airline companies, Spanair and Iberia, with destination to Barcelona. Furthermore delays were experienced by many passsengers waiting to board flights at the airport. In fact 27 percent of the flights carried delays of 30 minutes.

In Palma the situation was not so bad, with an average delay time of 25 minutes for arriving planes and 31 minutes for departing flights, which was only experienced yesterday morning and eased during the afternoon.

During yesterday morning the Balearic airports were on full alert and did not permit planes to refuel while bolts of lightning were falling near to the runway. As for maritime transport, the wind, which reached up to 60 kilometres per hour in some parts, forced certain ports on the islands to close yesterday.

Two ports in Minorca, Ciutadella and Mahon, were closed during the morning between 9.30am and 10.45am. In addition the ferry managed by the Balearia company, which was en route from Alcudia to Ciutadella, had to be re-routed to Mahon. However, the boat was unable to moor in this port and so had to quickly return back to Alcudia for safety. As a result of the cold front, the Balearia company cancelled all their Alcudia to Ciutadella services yesterday.

The Civil Protection department alerted the islands to the bad weather, and they expected up to 30 litres of rain per square metre in one hour in Ibiza and up to 60 litres in Majorca and Minorca.

The storms provoked cuts to the electricity service in the Balearics, which affected around 4'800 clients.
In 24 hours approximately 4'459 bolts of lightning fell in the Balearic Islands, and according to the Balearic Weather Station around 75 percent of these bolts fell between midday on Friday and midday yesterday, and they mostly struck the sea and not land.

However, the amount of electrical storms caused interruptions to the electricity supplies for Gesa Endesa in various towns around the islands. For example in Arenal around 1'300 people were without electricity yesterday, as well as in Playa d'en Bossa (Ibiza) where a further 1'700 Gesa clients were affected and in Mahon where 1'800 clients were left without light. Fire brigades were kept busy in Minorca, and were called out to Ciutadella where rain was falling at the rate of 40 litres per square metre. The fire brigades had to pump out water which was flooding around twenty basements and lower floors. In the North of Minorca fire brigades were also acting quickly against floods.s