Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Weirder Weather

The weather in Malta is largely predictable for about 8 months of the year – sunny, hot, and dry. The weather is so predictable in the summer that, in fact, the Malta International Airport actually turns off their Doppler radar. Which is why when we flew over Malta in September it looked like a little brown rock in the middle of the ocean. And now that’s changed. For the past couple of weeks we have entered the rainy season. And you thought the weather in Halifax was weird? 
Lightening over St Paul's Bay last Sunday, photo from timesofmalta.com
We have had some great thunder and lightning storms since we’ve been here, the most spectacular of which woke us up at 4 am with terrific lightening strikes every 2-3 seconds. As a lifelong resident of the East Coast where thunderstorms are a rare event I am far more impressed by these storms than M (he has seen some good ones in Ontario, or so I’m told, but I don’t believe that they are wilder than the ones here in Malta). These storms blow in quick and fierce and are over in a couple of hours. And plain old rain storms are the same – no continuous grey-day rain here like you would have in Halifax that leaves everything damp and chilly and sad looking. Here it pours and then it stops. Then it clears up and gets sunny and another storm cloud blows in and drenches you again. Last weekend there was even hail reported in Mellieha, slightly north of where we live. That's a big deal for a country that's never seen snow before.
Hail storm in Mellieha on October 17-2010, photo from timesofmalta.com
Besides sharing a love for fireworks, M & I also share a love for great big storms. So we have come to an agreement that we even like the "bad" weather here and prefer its extreme highs and lows to the constant greyness of a Canadian Fall. However, the dogs have decided they don't like Maltese rain any better than Canadian rain.

Another upside to all this wet weather is that Malta, still mostly brown and rocky looking, is getting greener. You can practically watch the plants grow they seem to be springing up so quickly. And the air is crisp and cool, a nice change from the heavy, hot air that normally “smells” like Malta. (I cannot describe this smell to you – it’s neutral, neither good or bad, it’s just very Malta)

Storm clouds over Valletta from our terrace last night
The strangest part of the rainy season in Malta is that is also marks the beginning of Malta’s “second Spring”. Summer crops have been harvested, and people actually plant vegetables all over again in September (presumably the heartier variety). And by December – fresh local produce all over again! It’s the strangest thing. There is no time of the year it seems when you can’t grow something here. How bizarre for us Canadians!

Huge fireworks display over Valletta on Tuesday night. Not sure what for...
  Rain, thunder, lightening, hail... the Maltese don't let bad weather deter their fireworks.

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