Wild weather

The last 3 days have brought some wild weather to parts of New Zealand, especially to rural Canterbury. Strong nor’westerly winds, up to 130kph, shook Canterbury Tuesday afternoon and evening, leaving a lot of damage. Trees fell, power lines came down and about 20,000 people lost power for the next 3 days. Some farmers have their own generators so that they can operate their milking machines while others had to borrow generators for a few hours each day. About 800 irrigation machines were damaged or destroyed by the wind. These irrigators are long metal pipes on a stand, some as long as two or three hundred metres, and the wind twisted them.

One family who were living in a caravan escaped before their caravan turned upside down. All their pots, plates, bedding, clothes, food – everything – fell onto the ceiling of the van. Another family said that a tree fell on their roof of their house. A building lost its roof. A truck near Dunedin turned upside down. Luckily the truck was empty and the driver escaped to safety.

Flights between Christchurch and Dunedin were cancelled on Tuesday. Flights between Wellington and Christchurch were cancelled on Wednesday as the wind storm moved north. The wind continued to travel up the North Island today but it was not nearly as bad.


• nor’westerly – north westerly
• generators – machines which use diesel to generate electricity
• irrigation – to water the grass
• caravan – a house on wheels
• ceiling –the roof inside the caravan