The Derecho Storm

Storms in Paradise

One of my ‘bucket list’ of things to photograph (which is quite vast) has always been lightning, and whilst in the Murcia region of southern Spain I managed to tick that photographic ambition of my list. It occurred while we sat overlooking the picturesque bay of Mazarrón at a lovely beach restaurant that we noticed the approaching Spanish storm, but this was no ordinary weather front, what was developing was a Derecho, a widespread, long-lived, straight-line wind storm that is associated with a land-based, fast-moving groups of severe thunderstorms. The scary thing about these Derechos, is they can cause hurricane force winds, tornadoes, heavy rains, and flash floods, apart from the tornado we was soon to experience all the latter.

As we sat in our relative sanctuary overlooking the bay, we watched as the thunder-storm approached the town of Mazarrón, it wasn’t long before the Derecho had rendered the town powerless and plunged in total darkness, it was at this point after lighting stuck the telecommunications mast on the mountain behind us that we decided to head a little closer to home, or in this case, the local beach bar shack, it was at this point I rushed back to our villa to collect ‘trusty’ and my timer release cable. Once back at the shack and the camera was setup and running on a tripod, I relaxed in what I thought was relative undercover safety at the time with a nice mojito.

The storm soon approached us and the camera was soon capturing strike after strike of these majestic bucket list bolts over the sea. But then the strong winds and rain arrived, so the barkeeper quickly pulled down the sidings on what was basically a wooden gazebo to protect us and the two Spanish couples (who was loving the drama). It was at this point that we realised it was going to get a lot worse before getting better, especially after the last thunder bolt of lightning set fire to hills overlooking the shack. We quickly packed everything away, said our fond goodbyes and made a hasty run for the villa through torrents of rain running through the streets, and made it back without any mishaps, (thankfully) apart from the soaking wet attire, which I must say, Wifey’s ‘Miss Wet T-Shirt’ impression looked quite sexy.

Although the storm raged well on into the evening, I was at least left with a bucket ‘list’ full of lighting bolts shots finally captured.

I even managed to capture some video…

Lightning Storm over La Azohia Bay #video

A post shared by Carl Milner (@carlmilner) on

Last Lightning #video #videoloop

A post shared by Carl Milner (@carlmilner) on

The UK isn’t without similar storms, as the recent one which battered the south coast earlier this year shows.

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10 thoughts on “The Derecho Storm”

  1. I like lightning. You captured some terrific shots of bolts and leaders and ghosts.

    As a kid, we lived on a farm in the midwest of the U.S. Our house faced west toward approaching storms. It was exciting to stand on the porch as long as possible listening and watching the lightning strikes get closer. Vivid memories.

    Thanks for taking the time to capture these. Beautiful.

  2. Great Pictures Karl, and so many bites of the pie. Incidentally, that last little picture is of Kingsands, and that clock tower was in grave danger of collapsing. But I saw nit this summer and it has been shored up and repaired.,

    1. Hi Bill, it was an amazing afternoon for storm photography

      … its one of my favourite UK storm shots by Lloyd W.A. Cosway in Devon, although he did say it was Porthleven, but your so right it Kingsands …cheers Bill

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