THE historic heatwave that whipped the Valencia region at the weekend caused a series of freak accidents – including a falling Ferris wheel.
Record-breaking heat was just the tip of the iceberg, as sudden leaps in temperature of up to 10ºC in just a few minutes, dry storms, and so-called ‘thermic blowouts’ – sudden gusts of boiling hot wind described as ‘destructive’ by the Aemet state weather agency – were reported throughout the region.
So destructive, in fact, that the large Ferris wheel at a summer fairground attraction in Gandia (La Safor, Valencia) was blown over by an 80 kph gale at 6pm yesterday (Sunday) evening.
By a massive stroke of luck, no one was riding or standing underneath the wheel at the time, mainly due to the fact that most customers had begun leaving precisely when the wind picked up, and there were no serious injuries reported in what otherwise could have been a major tragedy.
Elsewhere in Gandia, the wind caused considerable damage including uprooted trees, ripped awnings, knocked-over signposts and sunken boats at the port, among other incidents.
On the beach, people were whipped by a sudden sandstorm and had to make an effort not to be dragged away by the wind while hanging on to their personal belongings.
Meanwhile, neighbouring Oliva reported the third highest temperature in the region at the weekend, hitting 43.7ºC.
Further north in Castellon, another thermic blowout pushed temperatures above 42ºC… at 2 am on Sunday morning.
Strangely, Valencia city registered the lowest temperatures yesterday, barely breaking the 30ºC mark. The regional maximum was recorded in Jalance (Valle de Ayora) with 45.7ºC on Saturday – the highest temperature in the Valencian Community since 2015 – followed by Ontinyent with 44.8ºC.
The heatwave was officially declared over today (Monday) with a significant drop in temperatures, but these are expected to climb back up steadily throughout the week albeit without reaching similar extremes.