We have just come out of “the biggest storm ever”. It cracks me up how the media sensationalise things. As it turns out, the biggest ever actually means the biggest since the last really big storm we had, which was Cyclone Bola back in 1989. That particular storm will forever stick in my memory because it struck while we were on our 4th Form camp. The kind of camp where you stay in tents. I’m sure you see where I’m going with this…
I guess most people would think that we are pretty exposed to weather extremes down here in the middle of millions of miles of ocean, but we’re actually not. We are ‘sub-tropical’ which means that we get the mild temperatures but not the tropical storms. The South Island gets pretty damn cold in the winter, but the temperatures don’t sit sub-zero for particularly long periods of time. We have a range of mountains in the middle that are good skiing, but in Auckland 8 degrees is a cold night.
Cyclone Bola is the only bad storm in my living memory. It pulled out some trees and ripped off some roofs, but those were few and far between – we only saw them on the news. We get heavy rains that cause flooding relatively regularly, but that’s about as bad as it gets. This storm was bad in that 5 people were killed. Some of those deaths were pretty tentatively linked to the storm though. Like the guy who died when his house burned down as the result of a candle that he lit when the power went out. One of the other deaths was that of a guy that had gone kayaking. While I hate to make light of the tragedy of the loss of his life, come on… kayaking? We were warned about this storm for most of the preceeding week. It didn’t strike out of the blue.
I laughed this morning when they had a breakdown of the damage on the news. There were lots of photos of trees that had blown over. The met service guy explained that trees are like earth’s hair. They like leaning in a particular direction and if they are forced to go the other way, they tend to fall out.
So there was a fair bit of balding that occurred over the weekend, but aside from that, things seem pretty intact.