By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
WE are back on level one, yellow weather alert here in the Balearics today but the warnings are not as severe as on the mainland where large parts of Spain are being hit by heavy snow, torrential rain and gale force winds similar to those which have crippled the UK.

Here, the weather alert is for strong winds of up to 90 kilometres per hour and 2cm of snow above 4500 metres in the Tramuntana mountains and winds gusting at 70 kilometres per hour elsewhere.

However, the alert is expected to be lifted tomorrow night with only a few gale force gusts and snow flurries lingering in the north of Majorca and Minorca and a mainly dry and clear start to next week forecast.

Yesterday, the Spanish Meteorological Office reported that the past three months have been the coldest November, December and January for a decade and the ninth coldest since 1961 with an average temperature of just 7.6ºC. According to the met. office, it has been here in the Balearics and in the Canary Islands where the weather has been most unusual and colder than normal.

Ibiza, for example, suffered the coldest November, December and January since 1951 and the past three months have been wetter and windier than usual in the Balearics as a whole.

INSURANCE COMPANIES
In conclusion - it has been a cold end to Autumn and start of winter with the mercury dropping to its lowest on January 6 and 13.
The numerous snow falls have been the source of plenty of fun but the torrential rains and the gale force and hurricane winds have caused serious damage across the Balearics.

Areas of all of the islands are still repairing the devastation while many victims are still waiting for insurance companies to pay up.
Andratx was one of the municipalities worst hit by the storms with a section of the port's infrastructure damaged and washed away while a number of rural homes suffered a host of problems.

Elsewhere, numbers of roads have been damaged by landslides in the Tramuntana mountains and the residents of Cala Tuent can only just reach their homes after parts of the road were washed away and split open by the storms.

Many people are continuing to count the cost of the power cut on November 13 which left large parts of Minorca and Majorca without power for up to seven hours costing some business, in particular food outlets, a great deal of money.

Yesterday, the Balearic Minister for Industry, Francesca Vives, announced that a team of experts at the University of Navarro have been hired to investigate the black out, in particular the causes to help the government to decide whether it will take action against and fine the power company Gesa.

Vives admitted, however, that while the cause of the power cut has yet to be confirmed, Gesa is quite probably going to be fined.

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