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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Our biggest storm since...1968

And what a blow it was. Roofs off, trees down, seas up and over roads, fences ripped, power out. The Kaitaki, the biggest inter-island ferry, snapped its mooring ropes; the crew couldn't get it back to the wharf so a tug held on to it, out in the harbour, all night.

That was the roughest night, Thursday 20 June. Wellington knew it was coming, but we were still surprised. Mish and I were in the local supermarket when it hit. We parked the van and went in on this mild winter night, a few minutes later there was thundering rain on the tin roof as we strolled the biscuit aisle, and when we came out it was a maelstrom. Got soaked crossing the road for takeaway dinner. Next day in the paper we see that the supermarket's whopping great blade sign, one of those huge steel tube interior lit signs, has fallen onto the car park a few spaces from where we were parked. Phew. Missed a falling thing once more - take that, grim reaper!

So, we shot home, up the hill, with our orange beef and fried rice, and settled in to watch Brigadoon. The activity outside was a tad disconcerting but cranking up the volume on the video really helped to drown out the roaring wind. Every time there was a good gust, Mish checked the speed on a local weather boffin's website: 128; 137; 139 kph. Across the valley to the west, Mt Kaukau clocked 200kph gusts.  Our main worry was the living room window - it faces south - and just as well we had the blinds down 'cause when we looked at it the next night, when it was still pretty breezy, the pane was moving like Rolf Harris' wobble board. But, she held.

Our little house she was ashakin' and vibrating all night.

We have minor damage, a few branches split, the usual leaks in the windows where we haven't redone the putty yet. The power went off during the night so we made tea in the morning on the meths camping cooker. Brought up the BBQ too from the bottom shed, but the power was back on by mid morning. I went to work - and took the Petone foreshore photos on the way home 30 minutes later. No power, everyone go home. A bonus day!

It was lovely to be home, as there was party prep. We'd planned a small family do for the winter solstice that night, June 21. Too awful to go outside and admire the Pleiades like I had planned, so those who braved the roads came around and we lounged about and ate way too much good food (and bad party food), with the gas water heaters struggling to hold 20 degrees. That reminds me I have some eskimos left over...where did I put ...yeah, found them, yum. Mish no like; more for moi.

Today (Saturday) it's still wild, and sleety and freezing out there. Been tossing bread and apples out for the birds, poor little buggers. We've had an indoor day, despatching paperwork ticked off a few filing jobs, the kind of thing that stacks up month after month (waiting for a rainy day haha).

It's supposed to be clearing....flooding and snowstorms down south - but if you've seen the tv images of Indian rivers in flood because of the early arrival of the monsoon - far out - we're doing ok.

 Petone foreshore. The sea has been up and over the wall, breaking it in parts, over the wide footpath,  dumping sand and wood and seaweed onto the road. The swell peaked at 15 metres. No wonder there's debris. One lone sole is wandering along looking for treasure. It was so windy I couldn't hold the camera steady and my hands were like ice after being out of the van for one minute.

Meanwhile, back at number 9, a branch has split beside the driveway. In the background, that angled thing is a brick wall that toppled away from the concrete deck's side. It's only decorative, so the designer is planning what she can do with that space now. After the bike blew over in another wind, I started parking it low on the driveway, and nestling the van protectively beside it. So far so good. I've dragged the branch off, it didn't break anything.

Mish after the storm, hitting the berry juice.

1 comment:

  1. Hope the cleanup is complete, and glad to know the bike is ok. We've got a recycled PM in Oz. Pity the pollies & the media were ready for a female PM. Jude