Story: Weather



These damaged glasshouses at Lincoln in Canterbury attest to the fierce winds which hit the region in August 1975. John Fletcher was a scientist at the plant disease division of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research in Lincoln. His story begins as he set off for work.

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Contributed by John Fletcher.

I had to travel to work at Lincoln from Christchurch around 8 a.m. Fortuitously I was in a four-wheel drive truck which enabled me to drive over and around the fallen trees, cables and debris. There were no other vehicles on the road at that time, as far as I could see. Out along Riccarton Road and Springs Road roofs were off buildings, fences were blown over, large and small trees were damaged. Whole structures were down, particularly iron-clad industrial buildings. Roofing iron was skittering along the road and wrapping around power poles. Most fascinating were the two or three recently erected power pylons outside Lincoln which were crumpled and twisted.

Arriving at Lincoln I found the power off and inside his darkened office was my boss hunched over the radio trying to keep up with what was about to happen next. The damage to our buildings was considerable. Most of the glass from our two large glasshouses was strewn all over the place. Glass was still falling, so it was quite unsafe to be near the building. Smaller garden type glasshouses were blown over, windows were broken in offices, cables were down and there were branches and leaves everywhere.

The clean-up took weeks. The glasshouse reconstruction was a painstaking salvage, with the glass all needing to be washed by hand. This damage destroyed much experimental work and some valuable research collections. For some staff outside Southbridge power was not connected for days and telephones went unconnected for weeks. Many people lost roofs, windows, and the contents of freezers, while their gardens were shredded.

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How to cite this page:

Erick Brenstrum, 'Weather - Extreme weather', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 21 February 2024)

Story by Erick Brenstrum, published 12 Jun 2006