Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Big Chill

Running out of chill related title puns...

So with the snow all gone and the Model Expo last weekend done and dusted, I can kind of get back to regular service with this thing. Not before going back a week for some more recap of what was a slightly epic weather event for us (apologies for those who have seen some of this on facebook already).

Monday morning I got to take one of my 'It's like this right now' backyard thermometer pics with PROPER SNOW ON MY LAWN:
After it stopped snowing on Monday evening the hail and sleet started. I've never seen so much. Not so much the size as the volume and duration. It hailed for hours, and started piling up on our south facing windows like so:
Before dark though and between hailstorms Charlotte woke from her afternoon nap to find a snowman had been busy on the back lawn with something to see from her bedroom window:
She then got to go out and properly play in the stuff for only the second time ever (the first being the night before), describing the funny white stuff as 'squishy'. I love the bit where she figures out she is making footprints:

The best was still to come. Tuesday afternoon saw late afternoon snow forecast to about 100 metres above sea level (with our house at about 200 metres), but when snow started falling like this at my work at sea level and settling, I figured it was time to get out of dodge and go home while I still could:
All the way home I caught glimpses of people on the street and leaning out of doors in fascination, snowfall at this level in this locale being at best a once in a generation event if not totally unheard of.

Waiting at the intersection to turn up the hill road to home and seeing this bus having just come down the same road didn't fill me with confidence about getting up in my underpowered, understeering, non snow tyre or chain equipped car. I'm a confident driver, and have driven in snow a couple of times before, but that was in much more suitable vehicles. Driving our wagon in snow wasn't something we ever thought we would have to do :).
After a nervous few minutes I made it home, where things looked like this out the window:
The road was closed to traffic not long after. Since we had nothing else to do, a bit of snowman making was in order. Sophie was tucked up warm in her afternoon nap, so missed out (something she will no doubt grump at us for when she is older):

For those who don't know me in person, yeah that is my voice on both videos, and me at the end. I loved the quiet. I had heard about the way snowfall deadens sound, but never experienced it until now. With the road closed the only noise was the soft hiss of the snow falling, the 'shuff' of it falling off trees, distant trains and planes, and the voices of family and neighbours carrying much much further than they ever normally would. It was serene and verging on magical.

Venturing down the hill on foot to have a look around it was apparent the serenity wasn't universal. Most of these vehicles are parked where their drivers realised they had run out of grip/talent.
Not before at least one found the limits of their vehicle the hard way though:
Moving further down the hill revealed the valley floor snowbound (something I have never experienced in my lifetime, or even heard of), and people climbing the hill on foot having abandoned their vehicles below. It isn't much snow, but when no-one is used to it things get surreal pretty quickly:
The drive to work the next day, as even though the snow was melted, there were still cars littered all over the place at wierd angles and odd places.

Despite the disruption, there were some pretty sights to be seen on the walk back home:
Our road later that night after a grader had cleared it:
And our birdbath/skating rink:
As if to underline how unusual snow like this is here, by morning overnight rain had mostly melted it away, leaving our front-lawn snowmen looking a little forlorn:
Although at work there was a large snowball that managed to persist for a couple of days:
The cold weather lasted until the weekend, but we didn't get any more snow, no matter how many times Charlotte asked for it. This will probably go down in local history as one of those things that get talked about in a "remember when" way, like the floods of 1976, or the Wahine Storm of 1968. I'm glad we got to experience it (myself having only seen snow at close hand maybe half a dozen times in my entire life, and never at my home).

A lot of people have linked this next video, and I'm going to because I love the way it sums up people's reactions to snow in a city where many will have never seen it there before. This was shot in Cuba Mall in central Wellington on the Monday afternoon, and it is cool.

It might be normal for a lot of people, but it was pretty special for us :).

1 comment:

missrabbitty said...

there was another giant dirty lump at the top of the wainui hill for a couple of days...and a rather forlorn looking carrot on the ground. all that was left of the snowman created.