Well, it’s been one of the busiest weeks in New Zealand weather for the year – with a series of volatile, messy weather systems dominating the country for the last 7 days – and there’s still more to come!
We started the week off the same way we are currently finishing it – with a messy outlook for the immediate future – after a beautiful weekend for much of the North Island, when gardeners grabbed the chance to plant flowers and vegetables in the spring sunshine.
At Palmers Garden Centre in Remuera, owner Delma Harrison said the highest sales for eight years were achieved at the weekend.
“We’ve been waiting for the sun to shine.”
That, however, was the last we would see of any decent sun for a while, with a ‘spring blast’ moving onto the country and causing havoc in the early week, especially in the South Island.
Otago was in the firing line, with a lightning storm taking down a huge Dunedin tree on Tuesday afternoon.
Portobello Deli owner Alan Cameron said he was in the storeroom sorting stock when the tree, in nearby Hatchery Rd, exploded about 1.30pm.
”Then there was this huge flash and an almighty boom.”
Marlborough orchardists were also left reeling after a hail storm swept through the region, damaging hundreds of tonnes of fruit still on the vine and tree.
The Minister for Primary Industries spent Tuesday assessing damage to ravaged orchards in the Tasman region.
As the storm system swept across the country, we summarised some of our readers comments and contributions here on Thursday, with a huge response both on the site and on our Facebook page during and after the worst of the weather.
Heading offshore now, and the USA’s Midwest has been hit by an “arctic bomb” this week, with huge snowfalls, ‘ferocious winds and freezing temperatures’, weeks ahead of their normal winter weather schedule.
The heavier snow fell to the north. St. Augusta, Minnesota, about 70 miles northwest of Minneapolis, reported a whopping 16.5 inches Monday, according to the National Weather Service.
Snowfall of 10 inches and above was common across the state’s northern tier and it created a mess.
In other US news, Barack Obama and the United States have signed an historic agreement with China, as the two largest carbon contributors in the world agreed to cut both countries’ greenhouse gas emissions by close to a third over the next two decades.
Under the agreement, the United States would cut between 26-28% of the level of its carbon emissions set in 2005 by 2025, and China would do the same by 2030.
Meanwhile, high above all of this on Wednesday (US time) – a mechanical space traveler called the Philae probe plunked down on its target, a comet with a much less romantic name — 67P — some 310 million miles (500 million kms) from Earth.
European Space Agency scientists and executives high-fived and hugged each other when the landing was confirmed. Spacecraft have crashed into comets before, but this is the first soft, or controlled landing, in history.
Meanwhile, a lot closer to home, across the ditch, while world leaders prepare for the latest round of G20 talks, the country is preparing for a possibly record-breaking weekend in more ways than one.
Temperatures in the high 30s and evening thunderstorms will hit Brisbane by the start of the summit, with the Bureau of Meteorology (Bom) forecasting maximums of 32 degrees Celsius on Friday, 35C on Saturday and 38C on Sunday for the Brisbane CBD.
Don’t forget to check back over the weekend with our regular updates, and follow the progress of the weather, right here.
– Drew Chappell, WeatherWatch.co.nz
– Photo: Peter McIntosh