Our Christmas Day didn't go quite to plan, thanks to the disastrous weather that hit Melbourne in the late afternoon and evening. The weather forecast wasn't all that fabulous, with showers and possible thunderstorms predicted throughout the day. It looked great outside in our yard at 8:00am, but you know, this is Melbourne...
|Pfft. Storms...? What storms?|
So we relaxed and enjoyed plenty of this:
|Death by Chocolate|
|I love me some fancy water|
All up, it was a fun and relaxing afternoon. Then around 4:00pm, one of my brothers-in-law picked up a severe storm warning via his smart phone. It looked like a nasty one, with dangerous hail and flash flooding predicted. And according to the radar images, it was heading straight for us.
We made a quick decision to go home and get the car under cover before it hit. I did NOT want to be caught on the road in that. We made it safely and watched the first storm cell roll across just to the south of us. Ha! Missed us! Number One Son was at a friend's house right in the middle of it, and had protected his brand new car with blankets and sheets of plasterboard that they had lying around after a renovation. He sent me this photo via text, showing that he'd found a good use for the piles of hailstones:
The boy's ingenious!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we weren't so lucky with the second group of storm cells, which blew in shortly after 6:00pm. I was watching the storm front head straight for us. Our back fence is quite high and I'm quite short, so I perched on a stepladder with my camera to take a few shots of the impressive cloud formations (yes, in the wind and yes, with lightning going on not far away. Smart...):
|Apparently that nasty-looking colour is an obvious sign of hail|
|Pretty, but I'd prefer it to be over someone else's house.|
|I have NO idea what this even is, but it was freaky and moving really fast, straight towards us.|
|And down it came...|
|Drifts of hail everywhere|
|These hailstones are way bigger than they look|
I've read newspaper stories in the past about golf ball-sized hailstones hitting Sydney, and thought "Wow!" but this is the first time I've ever experienced it myself. And hopefully the last. As I commented on Facebook, those things were coming in so fast and hard, you'd swear Warnie was bowling them.
Just so that you can share in the full sound-and-image experience, here's a little video footage of some of the worst of the storm:
Then we lost power for two or three hours - of course, just as it was getting dark. Perfect timing.
The end result - two quite badly hail-damaged cars (the one in the garage was fine, of course), shredded trees and plants and a bit of a mess to clean up around the yard. There are tree branches down all around the neighbourhood, but we seem to have been let off relatively lightly. I've been reading about windows, skylights and pergola roofs smashed, not to mention car windscreens. We have friends and relatives with flooded homes and my mum is still without power today, so I suppose we didn't do too badly. Oh - and there was a tornado over in the western suburbs. O_O
So, not as bad as it might have been, but still a pretty sucky end to Christmas Day. Quite frankly, Santa, I'd prefer a pair of socks, a garish wrongly-sized sequinned t-shirt, or some nasty cheap perfume next Christmas.
Edit: Make that THREE hail-damaged cars. Number One Son's eight-day-old pride and joy didn't escape the mayhem after all. He's not happy....