After an incredibly mild start to winter we were brought back to reality as a southerly front straight from Antarctica arrived in Wellington. Think six degrees, biting wind, hail and driving rain. The only place for any sane person (or dog) … Continue reading →
Having successfully survived Wellington’s recent storm, we started to think of other storms we’d been through – and the one that sprung to mind first was, funnily enough, an Italian storm.
It was during our stay in Positano in November 2011. After unusually good weather we were warned by the locals that the weekend was going to be stormy. It happened to be a weekend when we had visitors from the UK and New Zealand staying with us at Villa Greta.
Now, please understand, by storm we mean weather that was less than idyllic. Which involved wind (a bit), rain (not a lot) and seas that were rough (all to be taken in context of the Med just being a giant bath).
Our Saturday started with a visit the the beach at Positano and a late breakfast at Buca de Bacco. Apart from a strong breeze and the overcast conditions the only clue that there was a storm was the surf hitting the wharf. But despite the poor weather the resident beach artist was painting – as he does every day – a beautiful sunny vista full of blue skies, blue seas, bright sun and Bougainvillaea cascading down the sides of houses on the hill, somewhat at odds with reality.
In the afternoon we drove down the coast to Amalfi. The roads were treacherous and largely awash in places. The Amafi Coast has no real storm water drainage system – other than the water rushing downhill towards the sea as fast as possible – down streets, across roads and over cliffs until eventually ending up in the sea. This system meant we were often driving along roads more like rivers and through villages where every lane was a steam cascading towards the sea.
In Amalfi the sea was crashing against shore and the sea side carpark that we had used only a few months previously in summer was now forming the breakwater and largely underwater. The wonderful thing was that, by the time we had driven up from Amalfi to the top of the cliffs to Ravello the weather had cleared and we had magnificent views looking east along the coast towards Salerno. Normal transmission had resumed.
Through the eyes of an artist it’s always sunny
Waves breaking over the wharf at Positano
Amalfi taking a battering
The carpark has become the beach
More of a beach
Now part of the sea
Cattedrale di Sant’Andrea/Duomo di Amalfi
Amalfi – built into the cliffs of the peninsular
Normal weather returned in the afternoon – Ravello looking east
Following the storm last week I did another photo trip around Wellington’s southern coast. Everywhere there were remnants of the storm – rooves covered in tarpaulins rather than tiles, sea walls partially demolished and road edges undermined and collapsing. Even … Continue reading →
Today the rain has stopped so it’s clean up day at our place – which will consist of sweeping up some leaves and branches, cleaning some windows and cutting up our fallen olive tree.
But we got off lightly following the storm last week.
Parts of Wellington’s south coast – where I was taking photographs just a few days ago (click here and here to see the photos) – have been hit hard and the clean up work will take weeks. I’ve included some photos that show what south coast locals have to deal with. As one wise local said “if the sea wants something, it will simply take it”. There’s not much more to say really.
South Coast after storm – photo by stuff.co.nz
South Coast road – great photo by Phil Reid
Taking a break from the clean up – great photo by Phil Reid
A Lyall Bay local in his back yard – great photo by Phil Reid
Wellingtonians are hardened to winter wind. Wind that anywhere else would be called a gale is referred to as a strong breeze in Wellington. Any wind that doesn’t physically blow you over is a mere zephyr. It takes something exceptional to get the attention of Wellingtonians.
Last night the weather had our full attention. A storm that originated at the South Pole has been sweeping up the country over the last 24 hours. For everywhere other than Wellington it meant snow but for us it meant rain -with accompanying gale force winds up to 140km/h.
At one point 25,000 people were without power partly due to trees being blown over and taking power lines with them. House rooves started to lift and outdoor signage took to the air.
Our place took to shuddering as each gust of wind arrived and the curtains bowed out from the windows as the wind found new ways to sneak into the house. The garden took on the look of a bomb site as leaves and branches and rubbish bins and patio chairs blew around settling far from where we last left them. Both Poppie and Bella simply refused to go outside and everyone decided the best place to be was in bed.
This morning the full extent of the damage became apparent. One of the olive trees we planted about 8 years ago had succumbed to the wind and lay parallel to the ground. We had talked about removing this tree over summer but couldn’t bring ourselves to do the deed – to wield the saw. It’s ironic that mother nature has done it for us.
For 2 days I hadn’t left the house. I had no meetings and being winter the weather had been bad. As a result, I became a recluse. By the afternoon of the second day I was going stir-crazy. I had to … Continue reading →
One of the things I enjoy about Wellington is the amount of public art around the city. I’ve already blogged about the writers walk along the waterfront – the snippets of kiwi writers works carved in stone scattered here and there for people to discover. But there is so much more.
On the way to Wellington airport are a series of wind inspired works, each one making a unique statement about Wellington’s defining climatic condition and each animated by the wind in a unique way.
Here is the first in a series of shots of the various Meridian Wind Sculptures stretching between Evans Bay and the airport. Zephyrometer is a work by Phil Price erected in 2003. It is a giant “windometer” which often reaches close to horizontal in strong southerly winds. Something every Wellingtonian will have seen over the last 10 years.
The second sculpture is Andrew Drummond’s Tower of Light. The stronger the wind blows the faster the rotor on top revolves and the more neon tubes light up powered by a generator in the rotor. If you are driving into the city from the airport and see all the rings illuminated be prepared for a rough time.
Zephyrometer – a giant wind gauge
Zephyrometer on a calm day
Tower of Light – the spinning rotor on top powers the neon tubes
A gratuitous shot of the 911 used as transport for the shoot