It’s been a wild week in Wellington, with a bitterly cold southerly storm on Tuesday followed by a wild Sunday. Strong southerly and northerly winds, hail, thunder, and plenty of rain to lift Tawa’s rain gauge past a metre for the year to date.
Wellingtonians shivered in a southerly blast on Tuesday 24th October as hail clattered onto morning commuters’ faces, gutters overflowed and a southerly gale tore at loose bits of flotsam and jetsam. Three days of steady rain saw the rain gauge at Tawa record 16 mm on Sunday 22nd, 14 mm on Monday and 32 mm on Tuesday, catapaulting the year’s rainfall past the 1 metre mark.
Several drier days followed and Sunday 29th dawned peacefully enough, with overcast skies, the hint of rain and gusty northerly winds. However, the weather closed in and steady rain began at 1:30 p.m. The rain continued until a squall at 5:30 p.m. brought a peak rain rate of 42 mm/hr.
As the rain gauge edged up to the day’s total of 37 mm, the fire siren called volunteers to work and the district’s roads showed evidence of blocked drains as the tarmac was strewn with leaves, twigs, gravel and washed-off clay silt. The rain eased during the mid-evening darkness, and everyone relaxed and headed off for a peaceful night’s kip.
BOOM! Thor arrived for a thunder party at 11:55 p.m. and proceeded to entertain himself in an attempt to loosen roofing nails by drumming on house rooves in a spectacular 50 minute thunderstorm. The northerly wind gusted on and off and hail was thrown at north-facing windows for a time. Brief, but intense, rain added another few mils of rain bringing the year-to-date total up to 1050 mm (149 mm for the month, so far). The Lower Hutt weather station recorded 83 lightning strikes in the 24 hours to 1 p.m. today, but a network failure has prevented further analysis.
In the meantime weather enthusiasts in the South Island, who thought they were due for a bit of thunder, have been wailing and gnashing their teeth (or clacking their gums) at Wellington’s “good fortune” at hosting Thor overnight.