Weather station

It’s been unprecedented

Firstly…  we’re ok.

There has been an extraordinary amount of rain in our neck of the woods this week.  So much so the word unprecedented has been bandied about quite freely.  But it isn’t everyday you see people wading through the airport up to their knees or water cascading over motorway barriers like a infinity pool or sloshing about inside buses.

Gloomy conditions
The water filled sky has been dark and gloomy, most of time for days!

Sadly this has been a devastating event, affecting a really large region, taking many by surprise before sliding further south to wreak havoc in more communities.  The amount of rain broke records.  The highest number was at the airport which recorded 249mm in 24 hours!  The worst part of it all is lives were lost and homes have been destroyed.  It was …  well….  Unprecedented.

Weather station
I think this is the most rain I’ve ever seen…. Just as well it wasn’t accompanied by harsh wind – that would have been all the more disastrous!

For us we were ok.  It isn’t like we didn’t get the rain, we got 150mm in that period, with 50mm coming in an hour in the middle of the night!  This is where living on sand is such a blessing.  We had surface water for a while but it was gone not long after the rain stopped.  At our old place in the swamp the water would have lingered, mixing in with the water from the previous outburst.  There it can take a week or more to drain away, but not before levels get so deep it becomes a flood.  We’ve seen some aerial footage from that neighbourhood in the news and it would seem that is exactly what has happened – the flat farmland has become an ocean with the tops of fence posts barely showing through the murky water.

River plume in the ocean
The plume of muddy fresh water from the Waikato River can be clearly seen in the ocean out the front of our place.

We haven’t come out completely unscathed but it is barely worth mentioning in the face of what everyone else is dealing with.  We had to put buckets out to catch a few drips from the ceiling, but not really anything to bother the insurance company about…  But it did prompt us to do something dramatic…

Wall repairs
Well this isn’t something we had been expecting to do this weekend, but we are so pleased we did.

Our house was built in the 1930’s and has suffered the indignity of being relocated twice!  Each trip, ten years apart were about 200km each.  House removal is a wonderful way of saving an old house from destruction for a very good price so was a great option for us.  The thing is our house is stucco, with a solid cement coating which, in general, protects us from the worst of the wind in this harsh environment.

Rain gauge
During a break in the weather I went into the garden to check things out… it would seem my rain gauge is woefully inadequate!

The thing is, with the moves, the stucco has picked up some cracks along the way.  For the most part this hasn’t been a problem.  A regular coating of paint keeps the stucco in good condition; however we haven’t painted the house at this point.  Firstly, we were distracted by other things…. Maybe a garden… and then we took ages to choose a colour.  Then we thought we’d do it ourselves, but never found the time.  Then tracking down a tradesman has proved to be next to impossible, so there have been delays.

Shifting sand
The pumpkin vine was buried in the shifting sand, but it was easily freed.

This storm, while being a terrible disaster and without being glib, it was a bit of a blessing as it made us notice all was not well on one of our external walls.  We pulled off the gib board and pulled out the insulation and exposed the frame and were shocked to find some wet patches on the inside of the outside wall.  It wasn’t bad, there was no mould or rot, just wet – possibly accentuated by the unprecedented amount of water.

garden path
It must have been like a river as the water raced through the garden from the surrounding hills.  It’s nothing that can’t be fixed with a rake when things dry out.

We consulted with our excellent kiwi architect friend, who just happens to live in America, who coincidentally was being visited by another friend of ours who was also a great architect.  So, with the best advice given to us by our trusted source over the internet we feel confident in fixing this ourselves.  Considering we probably aren’t the only people ripping gib board off their sodden walls right now I expect the hardest bit of the project will be sourcing new gib board when we need to put it back on again.  Once again this hasn’t been caused by the storm, just highlighted by it, so its not an insurance thing.

The driveway must have had quite the torrent race through, as it was on the verge of become a washout near the bottom. Our lovely farmer neighbour has since shored it up with his handy tractor.

In the meantime, the garden is ok.  It is quite soggy but I’m not doing much until it all stops as there is no point.  It is always best to wait until the weather calms downs before attempting to make repairs, to avoid causing further damage.  Besides, it’s still raining and I don’t want to get wet and that is ok.

Come again soon – hopefully normal summer will resume soon.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

22 thoughts on “It’s been unprecedented

  1. Gads! So many were concerned about the historically torrential weather here, but it was not the worst in our history. It was actually worse in 1982 and 1955. Besides, although rare, it happens. We are aware of the risks associated with living here, and damage was not as bad as it could have been. Meanwhile, worse weather has been happening elsewhere, but it has not been getting much coverage in the news. Our damage was sort of where we expected it to be, not at airports, for example. I sort of get the impression that severe weather is more tolerable in other regions because weather is more extreme in other regions. Our weather was only extreme by our minimal standards.

    1. This storm took everyone by surprise and the fact that it was the entire region that became flooded not just in localised areas that was so bad. And then it spread further down the country so it affected probably 60% of the country at a guess. And it is supposed to be summer which is historically a dry season with drought and hose bans. Not only was it surprise – our infrastructure wasn’t prepared and our cities haven’t been designed for this kind of problem. More heavy rain is expected today and tomorrow so we’re all bracing ourselves for the worst. : o)

      1. Oh! Now that I am reading this, it is two days after you sent it, so the heavy rain has come and gone by now. I do not watch the news much though.

  2. Happy to hear you weathered (!!) the big deluge. Hopefully not much to come. I thought it was bad enough in HB but we were well out of the weather warning area. What a summer it’s been. Almost non existence here and so wet. But warm. I looked at my temp gauge at midnight last night and it was 27 degrees in my wee house.
    Stay safe and hope you can keep your wellies dry!

    1. This has been a horrible summer, I’m almost ready to write it off – although I keep optimistically thinking maybe next week will be sunny! We’re not getting the warmth at all – it is about 18C this morning and it might get up to 22C, so it really doesn’t feel like summer at all. : o)

      1. Oh no. That’s not summer weather at all. We’re about 26 today in HB. Nothing like our usual 30s for this time of year. I thought I was losing my touch with my veggies but I’m pretty sure it’s our cool and wet summer! Next year ….

  3. I’ve been wondering how you weathered the storms and flooding, Sarah. I’m glad you’re okay, but I’m saddened to hear of the devastating floods and the loss of life. I’m glad you discovered the water damage now so you can fix it. Good luck!

    1. We are in a great position for too much rain compared to where we were. I guess it goes a little way to make up for it being very windy from time to time. The house should be an easy fix – from what has been explained to us so we’re not daunted, but we just need the rain to stop but more heavy rain is scheduled for today and tomorrow so we’re all bracing ourselves – especially as this storm has wind in it, whereas the last one didn’t. : o)

      1. Sarah, how have your faired with the recent cyclone and earthquake? It seems the south island of New Zealand can’t catch a break. I see that the worst of it is in Hawke’s Bay. It’s absolutely devastating.

        1. It has been truly awful. Personally we came through the storm largely unscathed and didn’t feel the earthquake – it would seem there was little or no damage from the earthquake, but the storm was devastating. There has been so much tragedy. The full extent is still revealing itself, however the long term impacts will certainly affect us all. It is hard to imagine the unreal loss suffered by the affected communities.

          1. I’m glad you’re okay, but I share your sadness at the devastation. It’s unimaginable to process so much destruction. My heart goes out to everyone in your beautiful country.

        1. We got 150mm during the main storm and in last night’s storm we only got 38mm so feel we got off lightly this second time. Although considering we got 8.8mm las January, it is completely bonkers! : o)

  4. Amidst all the chaos and mess I gotta say that photo with the rain gauge and the house is stunning – the blue of that little building is sublime. That blue just couldn’t be better. I love bold painted things in the garden. It is a spark of sexy but quaint beauty. Good work!

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