For those fond of a festive bet, money on a white Christmas in Majorca may not be badly spent. With the local government and councils still calculating the damage caused by November's storms, the Civil protection department last night put the Balearics back on weather alert. The region is one of six Spanish communities on the weather footing. The central government delegation in the Balearics was last night warned that the islands are to be hit by strong winds, temperatures are going to drop sharply and the region can expect its second snow fall of the winter. Temperatures just across the water in Barcelona are dropping to -6 and meteorologists have warned the Balearics that some five centimetres of snow is forecast. The advice to the general public from the Civil Protection department is to keep a close watch on weather reports and changes at all times and to take the necessary precautions. The elderly in particular are advised to pay close attention to the sharp fall in temperature. Drivers are asked to be extremely careful and to stay away from any areas hit by severe weather conditions. The Guardia Civil traffic department has asked drivers to proceed with caution as black ice is going to be one of the dangers over the next few days and not to leave home without a mobile telephone if possible. All of the region's emergency services will be back on alert and will have learnt a few extra lessons from November's severe storms. Today skies will be overcast with light to heavy rain turning to snow above 800 metres at first but the snow line will gradually fall to 500 metres as the afternoon develops. Winds will be north westerly and slight this morning, becoming north easterly and moderate to strong with severe gusts in Majorca and Minorca by this evening. Home owners are urged to make sure that any light objects are well tied down and pedestrians are urged to stay clear of trees. Sailors are asked to monitor shipping forecasts.

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