White out in Welling­ton, five years on


When snow fell in down­town Welling­ton in July 2011, res­i­dents thought they had seen it all.

But only a cou­ple of weeks later, the city ground to a halt when a ‘‘once-in-a-life­time’’ po­lar blast came ripping through.

On July 25 that year, snow fell on the hills right across the re­gion, in­clud­ing 10cm on the Rimu­taka Hill and small snow flur­ries on The Ter­race and in Welling­ton’s CBD. Tem­per­a­tures plunged close to zero.

In Christchurch, the heav­i­est snow­falls were recorded in 16 years.

But MetSer­vice pre­dicted an­other big freeze was com­ing and when it did, it hit hard.

Au­gust 14, 2011, will live long in the mem­o­ries of Welling­to­ni­ans, who en­dured power cuts, road clo­sures, pub­lic trans­port in­ter­rup­tions and treach­er­ous roads.

It was the most se­vere storm to strike the cap­i­tal since 1976.

Some gnashed their teeth at the prob­lems the snow brought, while oth­ers rev­elled in it.

Snow­boards be­came the norm on places like Colo­nial Knob and the hills above Wainuiomata.

Rimu­taka Hill Road and many other stretches of state high­ways and lo­cal roads were shut, keep­ing peo­ple ei­ther at work or trapped at home.

Schools across the re­gion were shut, cars were aban­doned in the hill sub­urbs, and 3000 homes in Tawa lost power.

Flights were can­celled out of Welling­ton, and de­mand for power peaked at 6500 megawatts at 9am, 500mw more than for the same day in 2010.

Pub­lic ser­vant Adrian Jurke planned to use his alpine gear in the hills above Khan­dal­lah.

‘‘It’s the only time in my life I’m go­ing to be able to say I ski­ied Mt Kaukau,’’ he said.

The high peaked at 6.8 de­grees Cel­sius in the re­gion, with the low hov­er­ing about 3C, al­though it felt much colder.


Aleisha Rouse re­called it be­ing ‘‘crazy’’ watch­ing snow fall on Ti­tahi Bay beach.

Dawn brought a win­ter won­der­land to Ti­tahi Bay, an­other Porirua res­i­dent, Kelly, said.

‘‘It was a world trans­formed in our gar­den, with cab­bage trees with snowy top­knots.’’

Tabitha Woods posted a photo of her sons barely con­tain­ing their glee at the snow in the back- Betty-Ann yard of their home in Tim­ber­lea, Up­per Hutt.

Rika Hosk­ing said there was a lot of ex­cite­ment in her As­cot Park neigh­bour­hood.

‘‘It was awe­some, walk­ing up Con­clu­sion St and see­ing adults and kids out en­joy­ing the snow.’’

Snowy scenes in Porirua and Tawa on Au­gust 14, 2011.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.