Festival tragedy in Cullera as unprecedented wind leaves one dead and dozens injured

Medusa Festival Facebook

EXTREME winds in the early hours of Saturday morning have left one dead and dozens injured at the Medusa music festival in Cullera.

Strong gusts of wind around 4.20am caused the structures at the event, including parts of the main stage, to collapse. According to reports on Cadena Ser radio, the victim was a 22-year-old man who was hit as part of the scenery flew out with the force of the strong winds

The festival, which is held next to the beach at Cullera, was reportedly attended by 51,000 people, was evacuated with the help of Guardia Civil. Health professionals attended to help the injured.

Meteorological anomaly

Many residents and holidaymakers along the coast of the Valencia region will have been woken during the night due to the extremely high temperatures, according to some reports in places over 40º, in the small hours, as well as high winds. One 55-year-old who has spent his summers in El Perellonet since he was a child, said he had never seen anything like it in his life and described how he had to close all doors and windows around 4am to keep the outside heat from coming in. Another compared it to “the apocalypse” and said she closed windows against the inferno that was coming in.

Meteorologists are saying the atmospheric phenomenon is known in Spanish as reventon cálido, in English a downburst or heatburst. According to Wikipedia “a downburst is a strong downward and outward gushing wind system that emanates from a point source above and blows radially, that is, in straight lines in all directions from the area of impact at surface level. Capable of producing damaging winds, it may sometimes be confused with a tornado, where high-velocity winds circle a central area, and air moves inward and upward. These usually last for seconds to minutes.”

Recreation of a downburst (Wikipedia)

Heatwave continues

Meanwhile, extreme heat warnings remain in place for today (Saturday) across the region, with firefighters maintaining active the level 3 for fire risk. AEMET, the Spanish Meteorological Agency, has also warned of extreme winds and that further downbursts or heatbursts could occur.

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