April Thunderstorms

April is a month when various parts of New Zealand experience impressive thunderstorms.

Last month was no different, with people in Waikato and Coromandel reporting a thoroughly entertaining thunderstorm which kept many awake for hours late in the month.

Earlier in April, Wellington experienced noisy thunderstorms on three successive nights on the 8th, 9th and 10th.

On the 24th of April last year mother nature really turned on the entertainment here in Wellington by tossing hail about during a tremendously noisy thunderstorm which caused gutters to overflow and knocked out power for a time.

Fortunately, few of these thunderstorm events cause more than minor disruption such as traffic delays, power flicks and water damage from blocked drains.

J.A. Mackay, writing in “Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast N.I., N.Z.” reminds me that not all thunderstorms are so benign. He wrote:

“A shocking tragedy occurred whilst sheepdog trials were in progress at Matawai on 2 April, 1948. Lightning zigzagged among a group of onlookers standing on a rise. Graham Leslie Hooper (aged 18 years), a shepherd, of Motuhora, was killed. Treatment for shock had to be given to: Ronald Harris, aged 36, Motuhora; Norman Johansen (31), Motuhora; Thomas Mitchell (37), Te Karaka; Mrs Mitchell (44) his wife; and Mrs Roy Leggatt (35) Motu. Only Mr Hooper’s hair and scalp bore traces of burning, but his clothes were torn to tatters. Mr Johansen was rendered unconscious. A dog, which was standing between Mr and Mrs Mitchell (who were only six feet away from Mr Hooper), was also killed. The concussion threw the bystanders down.”

2 Responses to “April Thunderstorms”

  1. Flying deldas says:

    Cripes! Reminds me of some of the shocking (haha) stories a South African workmate used to relate to me about storms in that country.

  2. Chris says:

    Also, with the April 8th,9th,10th storms – there was a tornado that spawned at Paraparaumu beach.

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