Cu congestus

Formation of cumulus clouds over the Maltese Islands due to a North African anticyclone (first thumbnail) pushing northwards from Western Europe dragging low geopotential heights towards Southern Italy. Combined with a humid northeasterly airflow due to high pressure over continental Europe (second thumbnail), caused rain showers to develop over the west of the Islands of Malta and Gozo due to surface heating of the relatively cooler but very humid airmass. The third thumbnail shows the rainfall radar taken at the time. The clouds did not become severe mainly due to these factors: (i) The core of the low geopotential height was over Southern Italy and not directly overhead over Malta, (ii) Moisture was only limited to surface air with very dry air above, (iii) Cooler sea temperature than previous years. These 3 factors limited the potential for severe thunderstorms which could have happened. The weather sounding is shown in the fourth thumbnail.

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