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:
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:
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?