Trees were uprooted, roofs lifted, lightning hit some buildings and powerlines, and power cut to thousands of people – and that was all just the North Island.
The South Island had gales along the West Coast and heavy snow and bitterly cold wind chills in Southland and Otago.
Christchurch was spared the gales, snow and thunderstorms – but Mother Nature kept herself busy with an increase in larger aftershocks on Friday night and again this morning.
So what are the highlights of the storm so far? Check out our Q&A’s below…
Question: Was this storm really the size of Australia?
Answer: Yes – in fact, it may have even been larger. WeatherWatch.co.nz estimates the whole system covered an area about 4000kms wide.
The two maps below, courtesy of the NZ Govt, clearly show the size of the low covering the entire map from left to right.
Question: Is it true the storm had a central air pressure similar to an intense hurricane?
Answer: Yes. In fact as you can see from the map below the air pressure was 948hPa. Category 4 Hurricane Igor in the Atlantic Ocean had a central air pressure of 942hPa at the same time. But it’s important to note that a polar storm is built very differently from a tropical storm.
However it’s fair to say that this storm was a significant one by world standards – but like many of the hurricanes that have made headline news in America this year, it remained well offshore luckily.
Question: Was all of New Zealand affected?
Answer: Yes and No. Yes, most regions received rough weather for a time, whether it was hail, snow, gales, thunder or squalls. But some regions luckily didn’t receive severe conditions, such as Christchurch. Also, for example, snow that fell in parts of Dunedin has so far been very light.
Hawkes Bay had gusty winds but we haven’t received any reports of damage from there.
There were also pockets of places amongst the regions hardest hit that missed out on severe weather – as was the nature of this squally system.
See the map from MetService on Friday indicating all the warnings in place. Their forecasters were certainly kept very busy over the past few days.
Question: Did WeatherWatch.co.nz expect more damage from this storm?
Answer: No, in fact we were surprised at just how much damage was reported. Westerly gales are common in spring and wind speeds weren’t anything out of the ordinary for a spring storm, it was the number of regions that were going to get severe weather at the same time that caught our attention.
on 19/09/2010 10:24am
Have to say was pretty much a non-event here in Hastings, few good gusts of wind but didnt notice anything in the way of damage anywhere.
However my inlaws in Waipukurau lost power on Friday night and didnt get it back until Saturday.
Beginning to feel somewhat left out here in Hastings as all the interesting weather disappears before it gets to us.