Wednesday, October 5

Wind and fires force more evacuations throughout Spain on the holiday weekend

The strong gusts of wind recorded this weekend and the fires that continue to advance in different parts of the country have forced the evacuation of thousands of people from their towns, and have also led to the suspension of concerts and other celebrations scheduled between Saturday and Sunday. . Music festivals in the Valencian Community, but also other interiors such as the Sonorama Ribera, closely follow the weather forecasts to avoid incidents such as the one in Cullera, where a young man died in the middle of an electronic music festival. In the province of Zaragoza, more than 1,500 residents have had to be evicted and, in Galicia, attention is still focused on Ourense, where the work of extinguishing six fires continues.

One dead and 32 hospitalized due to the ravages of the wind at the Cullera Medusa Festival that has been canceled

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The worst part was taken by the Valencian town of Cullera in the early hours of this Saturday. A hot blowout hit different parts of the Valencian Community and it was particularly hard on this municipality where, throughout the weekend, the Medusa electronic music festival was going to be held. At 4:00 a.m. on Saturday, strong gusts of wind darkened the sky and caused several structures, both at the entrance to the venue and the main stage, to collapse, causing one death and 17 injuries. The wind swept away everything in just a few minutes and the organization of the festival permanently suspended the event shortly after what happened.

Extreme weather events occur every summer and can occur anywhere in Spain, according to Daniel Santos, a meteorologist at the Danish Meteorological Center and a researcher at the Complutense University of Madrid. “If the weather conditions include very warm air and the precipitation evaporates on the way down, what is generated is a dry storm,” explains Santos.

The State Meteorological Agency (AEMET), for its part, confirmed this Saturday that the strong gusts of wind and the sudden rises in temperature had been “probably convective blowouts.” At 02:00 am on Saturday, at the Alicante-Elche airport, temperatures exceeded 40 degrees and the winds reached 80 kilometers per hour.

“The storms brought precipitation and some lightning inside, but, as they approached the coast, the rain dissipated and there were hardly any lightning strikes. On the coast there has been practically no rain or weak showers, ”said the agency.

After what happened in Cullera, the scenes of evictions due to strong gusts of wind have been repeated in Aranda de Duero, Castellón, Villena and Calpe. Rather than rethink the way in which summer festivals are held, Santos believes that what needs to be done is to take into account the AEMET warnings and act accordingly. “It is not about prohibiting or regulating in another way, but about taking into account the weather forecast to take protective measures.”

The same thing happened this Saturday during the Sonorama Ribera indie music festival. The organization decided to vacate a part of its camping area due to the warning of strong gusts of wind, which had already broken several branches of the trees. On the other hand, the start of all the performances was also delayed, and it was not until 9:00 p.m. when the camping area and the festival site were reopened. In addition, the organization of the Aranda de Duero festival decided to mark those trees that could be drier and more dangerous. The strong wind warning was active from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

In the Valencian Community, this Saturday, 5,000 people were evicted from the Rabolagartija festival. The firefighters had to vacate the camping area for prevention, after the wind had blown down some awnings. Also throughout Saturday, Leiva’s concert at SOM Castelló and the Calpe Pop Festival were suspended. Marta Sánchez’s concert this Sunday in Calpe has not yet been suspended pending weather conditions.

When the storm is upon us, reminds Santos, you have to find a safe and firm place to shelter, such as a house, and stay away from the eaves of buildings and trees, which can break. Although, when the cloud is above, it’s hard to tell if it’s just going to be a summer storm or a blowout.

“There are some things that are noticeable, but it’s complicated,” admits Santos. “In a dry blow, the first thing is to realize that there is a storm and then that there is an excessively high temperature.” Just as it happened in Cullera. Some of the attendees explained that they noticed something like a “sand storm”, “air that burned” or a kind of “black smoke”. Then they began to see how the structures hurtled towards the people, one of them coming from the main stage.

fire evictions

The fires have also not given up during this holiday weekend. In Zaragoza, a fire has forced the evacuation of several locations in the Aragonese province. A fire declared in the municipality of Añón del Moncayo has forced this population, the residents of a nearby urbanization and the residents and visitors of the towns of Alcalá de Moncayo, Vera de Moncayo, El Buste, the Sanctuary to safety. de la Misericordia, the Vera del Moncayo campsite, the Veruela Monastery, Ambel, Bulbuente, Trasmoz and Talamantes.

In total, more than 1,500 residents have been evacuated and the extinction work continues. Since last night, the municipalities of Lituénigo, Litago, Añón de Moncayo, Talamantes, Vera de Moncayo, San Martín de Moncayo, part of Borja and El Buste have remained without electricity due to an electrical fault.

In Galicia, the extinction work continues on six fires that mainly affect the province of Ourense.