Those who were kept awake by Sunday night's thunderstorm and thought they were experiencing something phenomenal will be pleased to know that this was "no abnormality, but just one of those rainy days that are to be expected in December and January," according to the weatherman.

Temperatures were not at all unusually low - despite the fact that it was overcast and rainy, yesterday barometers registered 14°C, in keeping with January's average temperature of 15°C.

Showers are to be expected until tomorrow, but nothing intense, the forecaster at Malta International Airport's Meteorological Office, John Darmanin said, adding that "things will soon return to normal, with a bright day on Thursday".

The bad weather was the result of an influx of cold air over North Africa, creating a low pressure that led to the formation of thick clouds, copious rain and thundery outbreaks since Sunday evening.

The forecasters saw it coming earlier in the week from northern Morocco and Algeria, progressing from the west to east and reaching the central Mediterranean on Sunday evening. It is continuing to move to the east with the same pace, meaning that improvements will be evident over the next day.

The weather may be slightly cooler tomorrow, but there will probably be less rain, or rather, more scattered showers as opposed to continuous rainfall, Mr Darmanin predicted.

From noon on Sunday to noon yesterday, rainfall measured 48.4 mm at Luqa and 43.2 mm in Gozo - amounts that were not the highest for January when it came to heavy precipitation days. According to records, these amounts have been surpassed a number of times over the last 30 years, although they were not considered low, the Met. Office said.

Although the weather was bad, causing floods in Birkirkara and Msida, it caused no major problems apart from some cars getting stuck in the downpour, Civil Protection Department director Peter Cordina said.

The public cooperated by avoiding these areas after hearing appeals by the department over the radio in the early hours, Mr Cordina said.

However, the weather did cause disruptions at Maltapost, which did not carry out any postal deliveries yesterday. All branch post offices in Malta and Gozo, nevertheless, stayed open for business as usual.

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