By Humphrey Carter

THE Tramuntana had another dump of snow over Friday night, although this time the snow fell much lower than on Thursday night making driving treacherous first thing while the snow ploughs cleared and gritted the worst affected roads.

Over night temperatures dropped to as low as -3ºC and struggled to get anywhere near double figures during the day with the highest temperature at Lluc being 2.4ºC.

Fortunately, the northerly winds died down as the morning developed and shortly after lunch, the emergency centre dropped the gale warning from level two to level one, which enabled ports in Minorca to reopen to maritime traffic after being closed for 24 hours.

The improvement in the weather and sea conditions was also making it easier for the air sea rescue services to rescue a ship with a crew of 15 on board which was 15 miles adrift off the south of Minorca yesterday.

On Friday, a member of the crew had to be airlifted to hospital after suffering a fall after a fire broke out in the engine room while the Panamanian-flagged Haci Koksai Mataraci was 50 miles off Girona on the East coast of mainland Spain. However, over night, the 86-metre ship was pushed towards Minorca.

Yesterday morning, two air sea rescue helicopters attempted to airlift all of the crew to safety but the adverse weather conditions prevented the rescue mission from going ahead. However, the air sea rescue services said that the crew had all the necessary provisions and that they were in no real danger.

Yesterday afternoon, after the weather and sea conditions began to calm, another attempt to airlift the crew was being planned while salvage ships were being made ready to sail out to the stricken ship as soon as possible and tow her into port.

The weather is going to be rather similar today with snow forecast as low as 300 metres or perhaps lower at times.
Isolated showers can also be expected but day time temperatures will rise slightly.
But, tonight, it is going to be freezing cold again with the thermometre expected to drop below zero in the mountains, so watch out for black ice tomorrow morning.


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