Well, that was quite a storm!

It’s not often one gets to experience a ‘once in a lifetime’ type storm. Perhaps they will become more common with the advent of climate change?

As this is a significant event for Wellington, I thought it would be good to document the day here.

Last night would have to be termed an awesome, impressive display of the power of nature.  As the wind howled and raged around the house, shaking the walls and roof, hail bounced continuously off the windows, water seeped through every single look nook and cranny it could find, I didn’t think I’d ever seen it quite this bad before.  It reminded me of the No.10 typhoon (that’s a direct hit) that struck Hong Kong several years ago, which I experienced too, and even that didn’t seem as bad as this.  And then I woke up to the news that last night’s winds were the strongest since 1968, when the storm that rolled in to Wellington harbour sunk the Wahine ferry, killing 51 people.  We had winds that reached 200km an hour last night.  It felt like it too.

And it was cold!!!!  Rugged up in my thickest, chunky cabled alpaca sweater with merino base layer and alpaca socks, I still felt cold!!  If it hadn’t been for the fact that it felt foolish to wear a hat indoors, I might have even put one on.  I put the thermometer out the window at one point, and it fell from an internal temperature of 6C (despite me having a roaring fire on since the early afternoon) to 0C (32F) in mere seconds.  The official temperature wasn’t that cold, but seems like we got there.  Apparently, the wind chill factor made it feel more like -5C (23F).

A small tree came down in the back yard:

Tree downThere is vegetation littered everywhere, and slips like this seem to be in every second street:

SlipTwo large trees came down in our street alone!

I wish I had been able to photograph the scene that I saw driving to work today, but you can see some of it in this news article (assuming you can access it from overseas).  It seems the sea decided to play on land last night – the beach was pushed up on to the road, covering it with tonnes of driftwood, rocks and sand.  Huge sprays from the harbour pushed up on to the highway, even as I drove to work.  I didn’t like driving in the gale force winds.  It made me nervous that I’d be pushed out of my lane in a particularly strong gust.

Why was I going to work?  Well, despite the fact that it was still ferocious out there, Wellingtonians are a hardy bunch.  Most schools were open, and so was work, so life continued as normal.  I wouldn’t have minded staying home close to the fire with my knitting…

There was even more incredible destruction near my work:

Trees downYou can’t see them but there are about four more of these immense trees blown over in the wind behind the two that you see in this photo.  That’s a large truck next to the tree…

The good thing is that we are all safe, and that there has been no damage to property (hopefully.  The wind is still howling alarmingly around the house as I type this).  Others have not been so lucky with their houses and property (especially those living next to the sea), but at least no one has been badly hurt or killed.

As the winds slowly head away from Wellington (supposedly), the Antarctic blast continues for the South Island – hope you guys are staying warm and enjoying the snow!  

How is it where you are?

28 thoughts on “Well, that was quite a storm!

  1. I’ve been wearing a hat inside today, a nice warm woolly one and I don’t feel the least bit silly. I usually wear one at night too, it means I don’t need a heater at night and that’s important!
    I saw the mess the storm made in Wellington on the news tonight, hope the cleanup doesn’t take too long.

  2. I’m so impressed with the resilience of Wellingtonians, and also those in Christchurch in their damaged houses, as we hear the news of adverse weather conditions in those areas. Sometimes I think we have a charmed existence here in Nelson – some nice wind to dry out our soggy grass today – and best of all, sunshine!

  3. My son’s school was closed, and I was quite happy for the excuse to stay home in the warm and let my husband bring in basketfuls of firewood as the wind howled round the house. It took a workmate most of the morning to get into Wellington!

  4. What a night that was!! We have a broken section of fence, a gate that is wobbly on its hinges, a tree at a drunken angle and a leak BUT we are all safe and sound which is the main thing. So sad to see so many trees felled.
    Knitted goods have ruled with this Antarctic blast!
    Keep warm and knit on!

    1. It is sad about the trees. It takes so long for them to grow. I hope more get planted in their place. Very glad to know you are okay.

      1. I hope more will be planted too. There are plenty which survived in tact in my wee neighbourhood. Good to hear you were fine and I did admire your fortitude to get to work!

  5. Glad to hear you are all ok, I was thinking of you as I heard the news this morning. What a storm! I think I would have had my hat on inside for sure if it was that cold. I have been thru a signal 8 in Hong Kong and that was pretty fierce, a 10 would have been really scary!

  6. Was it what!! All our Local (Hutt) schools were closed, and we only got power back at 8.45pm Tonight! so pleased to have it back…. and so pleased no one was hurt!

  7. Good to see you are alright. I was thinking of you and other family of friends when I read the news this morning. Keep safe!

  8. Glad to see things came out ok so far. It’s going to be about 90deg F today with a beautiful clear sky. We’ve had some fires south and west of us (one fire destroyed over 400 homes) but none here luckily. My roses and lilies are blooming.

  9. I can’t even imagine being in winds that strong. I thought that the 23mph winds we had the other day were a bit much. But hearing about what you had puts it into perspective.

    1. 23mph are nice gentle breezes by Wellington standards. 124mph winds are pretty severe though. Enough to knock a person over if you were foolish enough to be out in it!

  10. Mother Nature is astounding sometimes. Sometimes I feel a storm is her way of cleansing us. I like how you all take it in stride.

  11. Good to hear you’re okay. I hope you won’t be facing more of such storms coming winter.. Saw the video on your link – jeez.. the part where you could see that roof all wobbling… ; I’d sure would have been freakinly scared if that happened over here..

  12. You’re weather has been awful. In Auckland we had only thunder and lightening and cold 10 degrees inside.I have had my Flagstaff Alpaca jumper plus cowl on.I had been wondering if it was ever going to be cold enough to wear my cowls and jumpers this winter.

    1. I had the same feeling. It has generally been a mild winter this year. But those polar blasts definitely make the knits needed!!

  13. yeah its not often that one can be in a heated room wearing a merino underlayer plus merino/possum cardigan and thick woolly socks and STILL feel cold!

  14. Your account of what happened and your pictures caused me to send a link to your blog to my “nephew-in-law” who is from Wellington and his parents still live there. He appreciated your comments as his parents don’t give him much information about things there. He had spoken to them and they did have a tree come down missing their house by a few cms.

    Glad you’re ok and nice and warm.


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