Well the weather office had been warning about this storm-front. Overnight there were gale-force winds in many areas with driving rain.
The Wellington area was hit with hurricane-force wind gusts reported of up to 225 km/h. Even the upper South Island, wasn’t spared as winds in the Blenheim area were reported as averaging 153 km/h.
I left home just after 7.30am to walk to college. The ground was clear but wet, and I walked through the wind and sleety rain. Apart from the two tutors, I was initially the only student present. Two more arrived later.
I left that class at 10am, for the walk home, by which time the sleet had turned to a light but steady falling of snow. The build-up on parked cars was the most noticeable.
As I made my way home, my feet were drenched as I paddled at times through puddles hidden by slushy half-melted snow (since the Earthquakes of 2011, our footpaths in many places are uneven with bumps and hollows).
Having lived much of my life in the “almost Outback” of Australia, I usually detest wearing shoes. Most of the time I prefer to be in jandals (aka thongs or flipflops) or else some kind of open sandal. I was glad to have worn my sneakers this morning, but my feet were soaked through and very cold by the time I arrived home.
I wish I had worn my steel-cap work-boots instead. It was very slippery out there, being careful not to slip-over, I was thinking of the deep cleats in my boots that would have given me a more secure footing.
At least my top half was kept warm and dry. Thanks to the proverbial “dead animal”. On a stopover in Sydney in 2005 I bought an old fur-coat from a charity shop in Seven Hills. It doesn’t get worn often here in Christchurch, but comes out when it is particularly cold. (When I checked earlier it was just +2*C outside, today’s maximum is supposed to get to +7*C). As an “almost-vegetarian” I appreciate all the more, when an animal has died to give me a special meal, or to keep me warm and dry.
Remember this is usually a mild temperate climate, and regular snow is usually only found in the areas many hundreds of kilometres south of here, and at higher altitudes in mountainous areas.
Specialised “winter” tyres are unknown here, although many people that live or work in mountainous areas have 4-wheel-drive cars and trucks and some people have tyre-chains to fit when it snows or roads are too slippery because of ice.
Most South Island alpine passes have been closed by authorities. Arthur’s Pass is still open but only to vehicles with tyre-chains. (I had to go out yesterday afternoon, so even though it was only raining and with gale-force winds here in the city, I chucked my tyre-chains in the boot of the car “just in case”, along with an extra jack and several scraps of timber, so it’d be easier to install them at the roadside if necessary).
Now approaching 12 noon on Friday 21 June (hey it’s the first day of winter ! The REAL first day of winter) the falling snow seems to have been replaced by rain. If this continues it will melt and wash away the snow before tonight. With a frost of a couple of degrees expected overnight tonight, if there’s any snow remaining on the roads it will turn to ice and greatly increase the danger to traffic.
The photo was taken outside a city tyre centre, showing the buildup of snow in just 2 hours.