Thursday, 4 August 2011

Snowed in ~ the big snow of 25th July 2011

My trip to Christchurch on the occasion of a family birthday was unexpectedly extended by the big snowfall of the 25th July - we were snowed in literally: the little car I had the use of was parked down a long narrow drive in which the snow was at least axle deep:


Even if I could have reached the street I wouldn't have been able to drive anywhere:


Later in the day when the weather had eased my friend and I walked a couple of blocks to a dairy on Colombo Street, one of the city's main streets, and even there small cars were having difficulty.  This was the view south towards Cashmere:


I didn't mind staying the extra day at all.  My friend and I settled in front of the fire and spent the day watching the last four episodes of 'Angels in America' and ate quantities of good food. (Note: the link is to my review)

I was pleased to have to spend the day quietly, and enjoyed the dramatic transformation of the neighbourhood. The surrounding trees whose bare branches were starkly delineated by their covering of snow were beautiful.  This one is a magnolia tree:


The heaviness of the snowfall was unusual and widespread throughout New Zealand, with the polar storm passing over the country in the space of about four days.  Most unusually it fell to sea level on many areas, including Christchurch and Dunedin.
  • The ODT carried this story the following day on 26th July: 'The big freeze: it wasn't just us' For those with an interest in meteorology the article is worth a look for the satellite picture it includes.
 More snow is expected in the south this weekend.
For those interested in weather patterns, the two big snows of this winter, the July one and the August one, are due to polar weather the reason for which is described in this article:
Our atmospheric weather patterns are between La Nina and El Nino at present and fairly neutral.  When westerly winds in the Antarctic pick up in September outbreaks this far north will be must less likely.

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