The gurus in weather forecasting have spent the last couple of days, announcing this, once-in-20-years cold front which is on its way to blanket the entire South Island, and much of the North.
Although I already have good stocks of most things on hand (being a prepper since I was 14-years-old and living half my life in the Australian Outback, I’m used to being pretty well stocked as a matter of course). But as I left computer class this morning, I popped into the Countdown supermarket across the road and thought I’d just get a handful of extra things.
Usually if I go in about 10.15 am the place is nearly empty. Today I noticed the supermarket was full with queues at every checkout, many people’s trolleys were chocka and buying-in-bulk seemed to be the mantra of the day. Even the carpark was full, and when I noticed even just a “walker” carrying half a dozen loaves of bread in their hands, I thought, yeah, I’ll grab m’self another loaf just to be on the safe side.
Well the cheapest option, the in-house home-brand bread was almost sold out. I got one of the few remaining loaves. There was still plenty of stock of the more expensive bread options though.
Actually I’m thinking the supermarket may well have taken a second delivery, of extra fresh bread stocks this morning. I heard some places had earlier run out of fresh bread by about 10 am.
On this morning’s television news they showed pictures of Queenstown supermarket whose shelves were picked bare yesterday, the folks down in the south of the South Island obviously stocked up early. As of 5 pm Wednesday 19 June reports of snow falling in Southland are just starting to come in.
Whether the snow gets as far up as Christchurch city, we will find out in good time. But we have been told to expect at the very least, heavy rain and sleet for two days.
The ground is already saturated with the widespread heavy rains we had just a few days ago, so it won’t take much more to bring on real flooding again.
Earlier this afternoon I re-arranged some subtropical pot-plants to bring them right up close to the wall of the house where they would be somewhat sheltered from sleet or snow. My front lawn was already saturated with water then, and on the point of starting to flood.
Those subtropical plants which live in the ground, may well be finished off by the upcoming spell of cold, even if we don’t quite get the snow. A frost of some -4*C is expected Friday morning. That’ll most likely kill off all the leaves of my Egyptian Ricinus and South American Physalis shrubs. I have small seedlings of those in pots right close to the house that should survive for next Spring’s replanting.
I’ve got spare disposable gas canisters for the portable cooker and petr-oil for the 240 volt mains generator, so I’m pretty right if the power goes off…except that, like most Christchurch people nowadays, I am entirely dependent on our, usually reliable, electricity supply for home heating. Over the last few decades there has been a huge push by government authorities to stop Christchurch and Canterbury residents using wood or coal for home heating. Unfortunately on those occasions that electricity does go off, most people nowadays have no alternatives for home heating available.
Previously as a student, I got used to being on a strictly limited income, I use the minimum of home heating I can get away with. But if I see snow, then I’ll be running a couple of heaters to keep this place warm enough. Pretty pleased that last month’s electricity bill was only $96, and I do have a flatmate, although he’s away at college or elsewhere, much of the time.
Don’t even get me started on how, in the last 25 or so years, the electricity price has increased from 4.5 cents per kw/hr unit to about 26 c/kw/hr . Remember that the south of the South Island has many huge hydro dams that are already bought and paid for, and have a 1,000 year lifespan. So the only actual costs are some maintenance as needed to existing infrastructure.
Western Australia by comparison, generates electricity by burning petroleum gas (which it must pay full price for) or burning diesel, or some coal fired power stations with access to the lowest grade of coal there is, and West Aussies still get their electricity much cheaper than South Islanders in New Zealand, go figure.