Storm Helios is set to hit the Maltese Islands late Wednesday as a depression that is presently located over Algeria moves across to Libya and makes its way towards the central Mediterranean.

What weather will Storm Helios bring?

A strong wind warning is already in effect; however, the centre of the low-pressure system will be closest to the Maltese Islands between Thursday and Friday bringing more severe weather conditions.

From the early hours of Thursday until Thursday night, very strong (force 7) Easterly winds are expected to sweep across the Maltese Islands, with gusts reaching up to 45 knots. Thursday’s strong winds will whip up very rough to high seas tomorrow, with waves expected to reach up to five metres. The public is advised to avoid coastal areas due to the possibility of flooding.

Rain showers are expected to become more frequent from tonight, with the possibility that they will be thundery on Thursday. The Meteorological Office, in fact, expects to issue orange warnings for rain and wind tomorrow.

Where did the name Helios come from?

The Malta Meteorological Office is a member of the EUMETNET– Storm Naming Central Mediterranean Group, together with offices in Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, North Macedonia and Montenegro.

At the beginning of every season, the central Mediterranean national meteorological services decide on a list of names presented in alphabetical order which are then used for storms that hit the region throughout the season and are associated with very strong winds and/or red warnings for precipitation.

The first member country of the group to be hit by a particular storm has the responsibility of announcing it. Storm Helios is the eighth storm that is being named by the EUMETNET group for the 2022/2023 season.

Such naming systems allow for more streamlined communications about storms and increase public awareness of severe weather events affecting multiple countries.

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Published on: 08.02.23