It’s only been a week since we were last away in the caravan but Friday couldn’t come quickly enough for Robin. There is no doubt about it - he really enjoys his caravan rallies. It was just a short trip of 15km to our destination and we arrived at Kaitoke Regional Park to find two other caravans already set up. This lovely park is set in the water catchment area of Upper Hutt and is surrounded by hills covered with dense native bush.
We all caught up with each other’s news as we sat outside in the sunshine. We kept an eye on the sky as we watched the dark clouds rolling in from the south. Flashes of lightening lit the sky followed by the crash of thunder. The surrounding trees started to thrash around as the wind picked up considerably. Oh oh, time to gather up our table and chairs and head inside, we decided, as the rain started to fall. Ping, ping, ping, hail stones rained down all around us, striking the cars and caravans. We had visions of the recent hail storm in Australia which had caused such a lot of damage. Luckily the hail soon stopped and then a deluge of rain started up.
The radio news was full of doom and gloom. A mini tornado had ripped off roofs, tore up trees and cut power to thousands of consumers. Thousands of Hutt Valley and Wairarapa train commuters were stranded when trees fell across the Hutt Valley rail lines. This storm was labelled the “Southerly Buster”, bringing with it winds of 130kmh and dumping a weeks worth of rain in two hours. The temperatures dropped 10 degrees within 10 minutes – no wonder I had to wear some woolly socks to bed! We were at a non power rally, so although we had lights, hot water, radio and refrigeration, we do not have heating when not on power. What a night! We felt sorry for those campers in tents close by.
RAIN RADAR: A Met Service image showing rainfall intensity at 6pm on Friday.