Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Spoke too soon...

Me and my big mouth...

As we got into last weekend, I started spotting weather warnings on the news. It was hailing and snowing on Sunday night, and on Monday morning, we woke up to a light icing powder dust of snow on the hills:

This in and of itself is unusual. Whilst we do get snow in NZ (we have a thriving ski-industry), the last time it snowed in Wellington to any major level was in the seventies, and before then in 1936. No wonder, then, that we were a little ill-equipped to deal with the snow which fell steadily through Monday - it took me an hour and forty-five minutes to get home thanks to a broken down train and then frozen points (normally it's about thirty minutes door to door depending on when I arrive at the station). There was still snow on the hills when I left for work this morning, and I got a dumping of hail on me as well as I left the house.

One of my colleagues lives up the hill on the other side of the valley from us; she left early as the weather looked like closing in and they had had the snow settle overnight, making conditions very slippery going up her road. She called me when she got in to say that it was snowing very heavily in Lower Hutt and I might want to make my way home sooner rather than later. I didn't think a huge amount of it - we're pretty much at sea level, and last year we only had a couple of frosts over the whole winter, so I thought that everything would have melted by the time I got in.

Fortunately, I did take her advice (more warnings from National Office about the weather also helped to convince me) - when I got home, I was confronted with a white blanket of snow:

The Ambulance Station over the road

Our Pohutakawa tree

The garden

The very surreal sight of a fruiting Lemon tree (with a feijoa, olive and fig behind it) covered in snow. All the trees are now in the greenhouse - they may be hardy, but probably not to this extent!

The media is calling this a once in a lifetime blast - snow has got as far as Auckland ('The Winterless North') - I'm just very glad of a good gas fire!

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