Friday, May 29, 2009

It's a long weekend...

...And you know what that means... Murphy's Law says that anything that can go wrong will go wrong, so for everyone planning a long weekend out and about, forget it. The weather is going to be awful.

MetService expects another wintry spell on the weekend. A strong, very cold southerly is forecast to spread onto southern New Zealand on Saturday night and
further north on Sunday. Winds should start easing from the south from Sunday night as freezing levels rise slowly.

Snow is likely to affect many roads in the south and east of the South Island and higher roads in eastern and central North Island areas including the Rimutaka Road on Sunday. Wind chill means conditions will be severe for animals and trampers in exposed areas in the hills and ranges.

People are advised to keep up to date with weather forecasts. Motorists should check road conditions before departing, particularly on Sunday, and farmers should shelter vulnerable animals.

MetService expects the very cold southerly blast to reach Wellington and Wairarapa mid morning on Sunday and spread further north in the afternoon and evening. Snow showers are likely to fall as low as 300 to 500 metres, affecting many higher roads, including the Rimutaka Road, Desert Road, Gentle Annie Route and Napier-Taupo highway, and coat the higher ranges with heavy snow. Some of the hill suburbs in Wellington could also see snow. Wind chill temperatures will probably be around -5 degrees Celsius in exposed places, but extreme in the mountains. Weather conditions should start to ease on Monday morning.

It's going to be a good ski season this year! But you might want to wait until the weather eases before heading for the mountains.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Turn your lights on!

Wasn't that fun? No, not really... To use the vernacular, it sucked big time. What awful weather! And it's not over yet.

Bad weather seems to bring out the worst in drivers. I'm going to have a quick rant about people who drive in the rain without headlights.

Headlights aren't just there to help you seen in the dark. They are also there to make it easier for people to see you. If you've turned on your windscreen wipers to help you see through the rain, how about you turn your headlights on so that other people trying to see through the rain have a better chance of seeing and avoiding you. Especially if you happen to have a car the colour of a wet road...

I don't want to have to stop and help out at an accident in the pouring rain because someone didn't think that being visible on the road was a good thing.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Winter's here

Winter appears to be here with a vengeance. My phone has been beeping every few hours over the past couple of days to warn of snowfall on the Rimutaka Hill Road, and the papers (and their online equivalents) have been full of images of snow, and tales of woe from people who haven't been driving to the conditions, delayed flights, cancelled ferry crossings, flooding, tornadoes and other weather-related issues. - nice picture of a waterspout off the Bay of Plenty coast

But wait, there's more! Severe weather warning for this weekend - strong winds again, gusting up to 120kmh in exposed places. And there's a fair bit of rain expected too. Why does it always happen on the weekend??

A, B, H1N1, H5N1 - what the hell does it mean?

An excellent article explaining all about Influenza labelling and the origins of this new flu can be found here -

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bit windy, i'n't it?

Just about got blown out my lane driving home this evening, and watching a double-decker bus swaying around made me a bot nervous... I see that sustained wind speeds on Mt Kaukau are up around 95kph, gusting to 120kph at the moment.

Take care out there, people!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Blown about, rained on, and shaken

Another lovely day in Wellington... Yeah, right.

It's been blowing a gale since last night, knocking down trees here and there, disrupting flights, and generally causing havoc. Parts of Karori lost power after the wind damaged some equipment. It's eased slightly for now, but a warning is in place for more to come over the weekend.

The wind was accompanied by heavy rain, and more of that is expected too.

And if we weren't having a fun day with the wind and rain, nature decided we could have ourselves an earthquake too. Apparently it was a 4.5 on the Richter scale, and knocked some stuff off a few shelves in the upper South Island, but I didn't notice a thing - as usual...

Something to take into consideration really - Murphy's law dictates that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong - so obviously any big disaster is going to happen during the most miserable weather possible. Plan for the worst - at least you'll be pleasantly surprised when it doesn't happen.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Swine flu update - Sorry... Influenza A/H1N1...

Poor piggies are copping the flak on this one, and being slaughtered in various countries around the world, even though you can't catch H1N1, as it's now being relabelled, from eating infected pork.

Here's the latest statistics provided to us by Regional Public Health and the Ministry of Health.

The Wellington region currently has 2 suspect cases. A total of 22 suspected cases have already been cleared of having swine flu (H1N1 influenza). There have been no confirmed cases in our region.

New Zealand has four cases confirmed positive for Influenza A (H1N1). There are a further 13 probable cases (all close contacts or passengers on NZ1), and 89 suspected and probable cases.

In total there are 360 people in isolation and being treated with Tamiflu (up 91 from 269 on Saturday). This includes suspected cases and people without symptoms who are being isolated as a precaution because they were in close contact with a suspected case.

An additional probable case in Auckland arrived on flight NZ7 from San Francisco on Tuesday 28 April. This person has tested positive for Influenza A and samples have been sent to ESR as part of further testing to determine whether or not they have Influenza A (H1N1) Swine Flu.

As of 1200hrs, 4 May 2009 18 countries have officially reported 898 cases of influenza A (H1N1) infection. The United States Government has reported 226 laboratory confirmed human cases, including one death. Mexico has reported 506 confirmed human cases of infection, including 19 deaths.

The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths - Austria (1), Canada (85), China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (1), Costa Rica (1), Denmark (1), France (2), Germany (8), Ireland (1), Israel (3), Italy (1), Netherlands (1), New Zealand (4), Republic of Korea (1), Spain (40), Switzerland (1) and the United Kingdom (15).

Canada, on 2 May, reported the identification of the A (H1N1) virus in a swine herd in Alberta. It is highly probable that the pigs were exposed to the virus from a Canadian farm worker recently returned from Mexico, who had exhibited flu-like symptoms and had contact with the pigs. There is no indication of virus adaptation through transfer from human to pigs at this time.

The numbers really aren't looking as exciting as first reported.