TORRENTIAL rain, high winds, lightning strikes and hail on Thursday afternoon had people in Gibraltar running for cover as rockfalls caused chaos on the Upper Rock.
Authorities even closed the Nature Reserve to visitors ‘due to unsafe conditions’, Gibraltar’s government said in a statement.
Lightning strikes knocked out the power at tourist sites like St Michael’s Cave and the Great Siege Tunnels, forcing the closure of the Upper Rock.
Across town, building and streets flooded, and toilets overflowed, as the storm swept in.
The power loss on the Upper Rock had the Gibraltar Electrical Authority turning up to assess the damage and fix the fault.
Technical Division teams drove up and down the Rock locating rockfalls and assessing their impact.
The Department of the Environment had to deal with water seeping into the historic Tovey Cottage.
“Residents are advised to exercise caution when travelling home through the Upper Rock,” the government department said.
“The Department of the Environment are liaising with local tour operators advising them of the unsafe conditions across the Nature Reserve.
“The area will be re-opened to the public and visitors as soon as it is safe to do so.”
MeteoGib tweeted about the storm, which was centred close to the Rock.
“A severe thunderstorm cell just to our East and affecting the Rock with frequent thunder, ightning and whipping up some strong gusts.
“Do take extra care – a potential risk of flash flooding. Some hail possible.”
Back in town, social media was awash with images and videos of the chaos the flash floods had brought.
Sirens blared across town as lifts stopped working and major roads came to a standstill when over 20-25mm of rain fell in about six hours.
Technicians worked overtime as the showers flooded the ICC shopping centre, damaging shops and their goods.
The storm cell then headed north to Marbella and the Costa del Sol later in the evening.
This latest storm bears all the hallmarks of typical climate change conditions with long droughts interrupted by violent storms bringing torrential rain.
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