30 August 2011

Mountains are full of it!

While driving to work this morning I looked at the mountains in the distance (while motionless at an intersection of course, my eyes are always on the road ahead etc.) The huge blanket of snow had finally succumbed to the weeks sunshine and the rocks were showing through. I am unable at present to make up my mind whether they look grander fully snow covered or semi covered. I would love to read other’s views on this. When fully covered the mountains seem to radiate outwards overpowering all other scenery and looking clean and crisp. Yet semi covered allows the viewer to see the valleys and make out the intricacies  of the complex design which give more depth to the view, even though not as grand. According to the weather experts I will have another chance to view a total covered version once more after the weekend so I may yet be able to make up my mind.

It is drizzling outside at present, if the temperature dropped considerably I could see it turning into snow over night. However the snow is not meant to arrive until Thursday night and even then very unlikely to settle this close to the coast (Most of Thursday and Friday higher than 200m).

I am not holding my breath, one I can only do around 70 seconds no where near the three days required, and two, Timaru does not get snow. Well, only very rarely. When I was growing up here, for the eighteen years I spent living full time in Timaru consecutively I can only remember three snowfalls that settled into anything barely decent. After returning from university my five year stint here enable me to see one more snowfall, settling to a massive 1cm (under half an inch) thick, meanwhile in Christchurch that same night they received their largest recorded snowfall of  1 metre (just over 3 feet).

While I was in Auckland, just prior to my return, South Canterbury got a once in fifty year dumping (A whole foot of snow!) including Timaru. Power failed, no one ventured outside (except of course the children who are impervious to such fears) and the place stood still for five days. Once the shock of that white stuff did actually exist thicker than a camping mattress subsided, South Canterbury finally got back to business. Now of course any forecast of snow is taken in fear and the supermarkets are inundated with people bulk buying cans of baked beans, water and various survival kit items.

We have had two such forecasts previously this month and a third this week. Both previous times there was going to be snow down to sea level. The first time we got literally five seconds of snow and then it came out sunny again. In fact the entire eastern South Island was under major snow and we had sun beating down upon us instead. The second time we did manage to get settling and my work went into disaster mode, just in case. Four wheel drives at the ready, but once every emergency routine was in place (and all the schools had closed) the sun came out and remained out, while, once again, the rest of the eastern South Island (and this time the  North Island almost up to Auckland) got more snow than anyone wanted. My mother was even stuck on the West Coast for four extra days due to road closures from snow. So you can understand my scepticism about this new forecast, my catch phrase now is “If you want snow, don’t move to Timaru.”  


Cheers and Blessings



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