by Irene Taylor
AGUSTÍ Jansá, director of the Balearic Met office, yesterday revealed details of the new weather alert plan, which divides the islands into seven areas of prediction, to provide more detailed warning of the possibility of adverse weather conditions.
The new system was activated throughout Spain yesterday, as part of the European project EMMA, and will give detailed and up-to-date information on adverse weather conditions and their evolution, with a maximum period of prediction of 60 hours. For prediction purposes, the islands have been divided into the following areas: Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera, the Tramuntana mountains, north and north east of Majorca, centre, south and east. Meteoalert, as the plan is called, is based on a computer system which automatically generates predictions in the case of risk, and sends them directly to the emergency and civil defence departments and to the media. The new system evaluates the risks for wind, rain, snow, extreme temperatures, storms, storms at sea, avalanches and rissagues (the sudden changes in sea level which led to the port of Ciutadella in Minorca being closed on June 15, causing major damage). Each of these weather conditions has a different threshold of danger, represented by colours: green will indcate there is no risk; yellow warns of a specific risk for certain activities while orange is the warning of a major danger, with red marking extreme danger. In the case of extreme temperatures, for example, the yellow level has been established at up to 33ºC in Majorca and 32 in Minorca and Ibiza; orange up to 35ºC in Majorca and 34º in Minorca and Ibiza, and red when the thermometer hits 38º C in Majorca and 36º in the other islands. Joan Pol, the Balearic government's director general for emergencies, underlined the importance of dividing the island into sections for warnings, explaining that “100kph winds are not the same in Minorca as in Ibiza” as they are common in Minorca and do not mean a risk, but the vulnerability of the population of Ibiza is much higher. The warnings, which will only be issued in the case of code orange or red, will be constantly updated on the Met Office (INM) website, where they can be consulted. The possibility of texting the warnings to interested parties is also being studied for a later date.
Jansá said that the radar which the INM started to install in 1984 has now been fully installed, but red tape is preventing its use.
However, he expressed a hope that it would be brought into service before the end of the year.
The Balearics is the only part of Spain without a radar, which is essential for predictions, he added.
As to the weather over the next few days, Jansá said that we are in for “high temperatures”, although they will not be exceptionally so, but they will reach code orange level frequently.


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