By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
THE weather alert for the Balearics was stepped up to Orange yesterday with the worst of the current cold front sweeping across Spain forecast to hit the Balearics this afternoon and throughout tomorrow.

Dozens of people were caught by localised heavy showers across the Balearics yesterday while the worst of the weather caused severe flooding in parts of Ibiza.

Gusting gale force winds and wet roads also caused problems on the roads with a number of minor accidents reported by the police and fire department.
Strong winds and rough sea conditions also disrupted sea crossings for the second time this week.
Five sailings between the island and the mainland were suspended yesterday and ferry passengers planning on travelling this weekend are being asked to check the situation with their shipping company as further complications are expected.

Palma airport, however, reported no problems, with 96 percent of flights landing and taking off on time.
As conditions gradually deteriorate today, people are advised to stay away from the beaches while home owners are advised to make sure that balconies are clear of any loose objects and that windows and doors are securely closed as the gales, storms and localised heavy downpours hit the islands this afternoon with snow forecast at 1'300 metres. Temperatures will also drop sharply.

María José Guerrero, spokesperson for the Balearic meteorological office, said yesterday two fronts, one coming across from the mainland and another coming down from France, are causing the problems and the heaviest of the rain can be expected tomorrow.

But, she said that the Balearics, after one of the driest autumns for the past 30 years, desperately need some rain.
Civil Protection and the emergency services are on full alert.
Over the past few days the biggest problems have been caused by the 80 to 150 kilometre per hour winds blowing down trees, billboards and even some of the Christmas lights in Palma. The Guardia Civil traffic police will be patrolling the main roads in the Sierra de Tramuntana over the weekend to keep an eye on road conditions, in particular black ice.

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