Wednesday 02 October, 2013 by Uncle Spike
And so there we have it… the first BIG storm of autumn!!
Recently it’s been sunny and warm every day, hovering around the 30c (90F) mark for a few weeks now – the tail end of summer.
All that changed about 24 hours ago.
Around midday yesterday we saw clouds slowly building up. By 3pm it was getting dark, very dark… and then at around 4pm the heavens opened, dumping large volumes of wet stuff at all angles, accompanied by violent sheet lightening, thunder and strong winds.
My old car had a broken wiper blade (completely snapped off), so it took me a while to get down the river, I mean road, to the mechanics area in town. Had to laugh though; as I joined a queue of 5 other cars all with snapped wipers – the intense sun here bakes the rubber on to the glass and we all forget to ‘release’ them before the weather breaks 😀
Some of the roads in town were well under water within minutes, so it took a while before I eventually managed to meet Cousin Spike Jnr off the school bus. Even that turned into a bit of a rescue mission, with rocks under the water making steering atrocious – not ideal for trying to draw up alongside the bus to grab a soggy kid wearing shorts and sandals (not the best protection I grant you – oops, bad parent).
The roads were like rivers, generally running at 10-15cm deep, with rocks and stuff everywhere as the water poured off the surrounding mountains. We had one near miss, as the metal girders of a half constructed footbridge was zapped by lightening right as we drove underneath it – now THAT was scary, but I was proud of myself, telling Cousin Spike Jnr “No problem, it’s all harmless son – we’re fine!”, whilst crapping myself as I tried to peer through the misted screen of my 1988 Renault with a dismal airflow system at a road that was almost non-existent!
The storm continued until well into the night. We lost the phone line by mid-evening and no electricity at all from 7pm till 10am this morning. Cooking, eating dinner and even delivering that all important bedtime story by candlelight of course – all par for a winters evening here.
Thankfully most services are now restored, except for water that is – still no sign of anything coming from the taps, so this morning I was out there filling lots of 5 litre bottles from the artesian pump for use in the bathrooms at least. Two years ago we lost all water for some 5-6 weeks after a monster storm wiped out the well spring head up in the mountains that sources all water for the area. Let’s hope the same damage has not been caused this time around.
A few tree branches were damaged on the farm, and one apricot tree was almost horizontal, but on the whole we escaped lightly this time (the first storm after 4-5 months dry can be a bit notorious).
The dirt road we live on didn’t come through completely unscathed though, with large ruts making it pretty well impassable for a normal car. My old car was fine, but I had to spend a while with a pickaxe this morning in an attempt to make the track passable for our road-legal car, as we have a guest who needs to get back to the airport this evening.
Now the sun is back out, a few clouds hanging round, and still the odd rumble of thunder, threatening a repeat performance later this evening. We will see.
I love the autumn storms, the power is awesome, very menacing at times and a bit scary out here in the sticks – but all good fun 😀