Storm Chasing

For a change we decided to take the coast road and it was a delightful uneventful journey full of number plate games, singing and guess the animal.













We didn’t stop at all, sliding and gliding along the coast as easily as a satin sheet slips on top of an uncovered mattress. Past the barking seals frolicking amongst the seaweed, paying no mind to the thunderous wall of turgid surf pounding the land.

There was little traffic (on our side of the road at least), most people choosing to leave the big city of Christchurch rather than travel there for the long weekend. Delightful company, delightful music, it was all going swimmingly well until we reached Greta Valley.
Greta Valley is  just over an hour from Christchurch and not the place anyone would choose to stop at the best of times (sorry Greta Valley residents), unless of course your’e heading to the wonderful little known jewel of Moutanau Beach.
view from the motunau beach coastal reserve back down the east coast towards christchurch
But today we definitely were not going stop, for right above us, to our left, to our right even behind and in front of a massive storm cell had enveloped us.
Thirty minutes earlier I pointed out to Maddie a long black smudge on the horizon to the south – the direction we were travelling. I explained to her that the cloud was a result of hot air from the North meeting cold air from the South. I explained that such a sudden change of temperature could cause storms and man was I right!
All of a sudden it went dark, it appeared as though we had travelled through a worm hole straight in Good Friday – such was the foreboding moody atmosphere surrounding us.
Photo credit: NZ Storm Chasers 
Maddie asked in alarm, ‘Daddy, can you please put your window up?’
I did so gladly. All cars had their lights on now – all shining brightly, the cars heading toward us slowing considerably, shuffling along in convoy, closing the gaps in-between them, rounding up the wagon’s, I thought to myself, safety in numbers.
If I had been on my own, I would had stopped and taken photographs such was the menacing impressive nature of the storm. However, Maddie was unsettled so I decided to press on.
‘This is so cool,’ I said, ‘it’s amazing, it’s like we are in an episode of storm chasers.’
But we weren’t chasing the storm, it was chasing us! For some reason it seemed to have now changed direction and was approaching us from behind and from the East.
I kept my speed up, but didn’t believe I could out run it.
I prepared Maddie, ‘got your hat ready Maddie?’ I asked, ‘it might hail soon.’
She laughed nervously.
‘We might even get to see some lightning pretty close up, but don’t worry Budda, we’re safe in the car.’
The storm was about upon us, large blobs of rain fell from the sky, I put the wipers on, opened the window, the temperature had dropped from mid twenties a few minutes ago down to single digits – low single digits! Hail and lightning must surely follow, but it didn’t.
For whatever reason the storm moved north west, away from us, we started driving away from it. I kept a close eye on it through my mirrors and watched it wreak havoc on the land not far from us. I felt sorry for the cows, the sheep, the horses, deer, alpaca’s and lama’s.
In one single day Maddie and I had witnessed the pristine beauty of Mother Nature and her creation then felt the immense power and awesomeness of her mood. What a woman!
Thirty minutes later we stopped at Amberley and bought a chocolate doughnut. We felt we had deserved it!
Kia Ora Roly

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