Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sudden Sharp Windstorm

Ah. For those of you who may have seen news reports regarding yesterday's "trail of destruction" across Northern Tasmania, and even seen reference to windgusts of 195km/h in Scottsdale... we're okay, thanks.

When we bought the property, I made a point of finding out about prevailing winds, direction of bad weather, and all the stuff you really ought to ask about when you're planning to settle. Everybody in the area assured me that the mountains to our immediate south and west pretty much block all the worst that nature offers hereabouts.

Turns out they were right. We've been through a few sharpish storms in the last eight years -- although yesterday's was the winner for intensity, apparently -- but while we've lost the odd tree branch, we've never actually had any damage to house, sheds, cubby-houses or anything else. And despite yesterday's rather freaky excesses, that hasn't changed.

The storm ripped through here at about 0830, while Natalie was on her way into Launceston with a friend. They had an exciting drive over the range, it seems, and I'm told there were a few trees dropped, but nothing to write home about.

Here in the house, I'd finished feeding the kids and we were all tidying up a little, and then the rain started. Then the lightning and thunder. Then the hail. And then, quite suddenly, a very powerful wind. I figured what with the wind and the lightning, we were dead cert to lose power, so I shut down all the computers and everything else, and we just hung around and waited. The lightning ramped up nicely - we were getting twelve to fifteen flashes a minute at the peak - but there were only two or three close enough to really set the thunder dogs baying. The kids were jumpy, but mostly excited.

Fifteen minutes later, it was all over except for the rain. We never even lost power. Mind you, as the storm went past, the temperature plunged. I'm told it went down by more than five degrees in less than an hour.

Anyway, the rain gradually lightened and cleared, and having plenty of other things on my mind, I gave it never another thought. At least, until I took the kids down for haircuts about three hours ago, and bought a newspaper. Sheesh!

Luckily, the path of destruction seems to have been fairly narrow. Couple of roofs gone, a bus overturned, and that's about it for the Scottsdale region. Still - I literally knew nothing about it until I read the paper.

I'm glad of that, really.