Wellington is no stranger to storms and fierce winds but on the night of Thursday 20 and Friday 21 June 2013 we had a real doozy.
The country’s capital continues to be battered by the fiercest storm in years, which has ripped up roads, toppled trees, damaged houses, crippled public transport and cut power to some 28,000 customers. …
Winds gusts reached 140km/h in the capital overnight and 200km/h on Mt Kaukau near Khandallah, while sea swells in the Cook Strait rose to at least 10m.
Our house faces South where the wind was coming from, but we were fortunate and suffered no damage. For the first time ever though I was concerned about our very large south-facing window being blown in. It creaked a bit, but held fast.
On Friday and Saturday the storm gradually wound down, until on Sunday we had a calm and even sunny and moderately warm day.
That’s when I took the dogs for a walk down Alexandra Road, closed because of a slip. How wonderful to stroll down the road without worrying about the cars that always travel too fast along there.
There was plenty of scrappy stuff over the road as a result of the storm.
People who want pine cones and some free firewood would do well to go out and collect it now.
But all along the road the huge 80 year old pines and macrocarpa had not fared well, with large branches torn off and even whole trees blown over.
The road was closed because of a slip further down towards Newtown, just North of the old Chest Hospital. Workers had actually cleared the slip and tree so I’m not sure why the road was still closed. Perhaps there is still danger of trees and branches falling.
On the West side of the road was a large hole in the bank, and evidence of the slip. The bank at that point is well above head height — perhaps 10 metres high
Across the road was mud and on the East side were remains of the giant that had fallen.
The tree had been cut up, to some extent, and parts of it must have been removed already.
Just by our house, to the West, a couple of huge trees had been blown down. They are down below the road, so I imagine they’ll just be left to rot as they aren’t in anyone’s way, although they’ve blocked an unofficial track that goes from our footpath to the road. People will find a new way around, I’m sure.
I’ve already noticed how much more light comes in without the trees there. In summer it’ll mean some extra sun for us. I may also have a better view through my telescope for stars and other objects lower in the West.
I’m not sad about the loss of these pines and macrocarpa. They were mainly planted as a work scheme during the depression. [Photo of labourers building Alexandra Road]
While I wouldn’t want Mt Victoria to return to the barrenness that early images show, it would be wonderful to replace all those trees with natives such as pohutukawa, rata or cabbage trees and flax.
As it is, the pines release clouds of pollen in summer, drop needles that clog up our gutters and block sunshine.
I’ll grant they also block the wind, but then they do seem vulnerable to the gales.