Thunderplump at Tawa

Lightning flashed, thunder boomed and gutters overflowed in many parts of the Wellington region this morning as Thor did a flyby in party mood.

Residents of Wellington were entertained for over an hour by an impressive series of thunderstorms which passed over the Wellington region this morning, Monday 11th of February 2008.

A burst of rain between 1 and 2 a.m. brought 10 mm of much needed moisture to Tawa gardens. However, it wasn’t until about 4-30 a.m. that the real fun began. Thunder was heard in increasing volume, and flashes were seen in the sky to the west and east. Intermittent downpours caused gutters to overflow and an impressive 20 mm of rain fell between 4 and 5 a.m. Some of the bursts of rain were so heavy that it fell at the rate of 72 mm/hr or 1.2 mm per minute.

The thunderplump had eased by 5 a.m. but another 3 mm was to fall in short bursts before 7 a.m.

In total, Tawa has recorded 33 mm between midnight and 9 a.m. not quite beating the previous records set in January 2005 and July 2006. This has brought the monthly rainfall to 42 mm and should forestall the Wellington Regional Council’s intention to implement sprinkler bans sometime this week. Prior to this morning’s event, the Te Marua storage lakes had declined during the dry weather making the ban on sprinklers and irrigation systems likely.

A lightning strike appears to have cut power to much of the Kapiti Coast after a lightning strike at about 8 a.m. Commuter trains on the Paraparaumu line have been seriously disrupted by power failures, with buses replacing trains between Paraparaumu and Paekakariki, and the signalling system is in disarray between Plimmerton and Wellington.

Rainfall between midnight and 9 a.m. varied around the region, with 36 mm recorded at Lower Hutt where more than 350 lightning strikes were recorded. Some of the lightning display was caught in this photo. At Mana only 9 mm was recorded, and 6 mm at Raumati South. 41 South weather station located at Strathmore recorded 28 mm.

A small ceremony will be held this afternoon for the numerous tiny lavender seedlings which were sluiced from their seed trays to find a new home on the other side of the storm drain. It is anticipated that some parts of Tawa will be a riot of purple colour in due course if any of them survive their traumatic trip.

2 Responses to “Thunderplump at Tawa”

  1. Chris M says:

    Indeed the trains were slowing to a halt to pay homage to Thor as they travelled through Tawa this morning. Things were made worse by someone fainting (probably from the overheating of delayed commuters inside the crowded train) and requiring to be ambulanced off from Redwood station. Guess what time that happened?!

    Oh, and if you’ve got a minute can you pop up the hill and clear out my gutters? Ta 🙂

    Cheers, Chris

  2. Ken says:

    Gutters? Will be busy checking mine. Apparently Thor’s booked for an encore some time before midday tomorrow. (gurgle)

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