Snow shuts down Christchurch in New Zealand...

    This was the view from my house when I arose this morning. Never seen it before in Diamond Harbor where I live (close to Christchurch).

    Snow is pretty rare in Christchurch and I have never seen it down to sea level here...but, we have lots at the moment.

    I know that our North American, Canadian and European customers will be bemused by this news but our Head Office and Factory in New Zealand was disabled yesterday by a severe snow storm. Virtually all businesses were shut and the police were warning to keep off the roads unless for emergencies.

    Personally I think that the warnings are a little over the top...but, as we know things have changed somewhat over the last 40 odd years.

    Anyway, in anticipation of the storm which was expected to hit on Monday (and it did) some of our distribution staff came to work on Sunday to process orders received over the weekend for shipping out on Monday...but, all that was in vain because the trucks couldn't get to our facilities because of the ice.

    Today we managed to get most of the staff to the office, factory and warehouse by arranging a small fleet of four wheel drives...but, even though we had a small mountain of orders ready to be shipped out today the trucks were not able to collect them. We have been assured they will be picked up tomorrow and things should be back to normal.

    So, I am sorry to say that some customer's orders will be delayed by a couple of days. They have been processed and packed but are still waiting to be picked up by NZ Post. I do apologise for that.

    Why was the city disabled? Very simply...we are not geared up for snowfalls and ice like we have just experienced. We are ready for most things including earthquakes but snow storms are not one of them. The positive aspect of it is that it was a new experience for many people and it gave the children a chance to learn how to build a snowman.

    7 Responses

    Hi Susan,

    I will ask out IT staff about that. The photo shows up on the general blog summary…at least it does on my computer (I am at the airport at the moment). Thanks for mentioning it.

    Warren Matthews August 21 2011

    Warren, sorry to hear about your crippling snowstorm!
    Did you get enough snow to cover your driveway with snow so that you could not see the top of your car?  If not, you did not get a snowstorm.
    Did you have enough ice on the windshield of your car so that you had to pour warm water over it because you could not chip it off with anything that wouldn’t smash the glass?

    Then you didn’t have much of an ice problem.
    Did you have to spread salt on the sidewalk or your porch steps so that the post man could get to your mailbox without breaking his neck?  Then you did not have anything more than a minor inconvenience which may  have required some prudent speed control and inching your way to a stop sign or red light at an intersection to avoid a 4 or 5 car collision at an intersection.
    Come visit Canada in January or February if you want to experience a snowstorm!
    How about temperatures of -40C?? with winds upwards of 40 kph. Did your fingers freeze to the doorknob as you tried to enter your house.
    You guys there are woosies when you see a few snowflakes.

    Wally August 19 2011

    What photo? All I am seeing is text in your blog, but no photo. I want to see your snow storm! Is there something I need to do or reset on my computer in order to see what you’re talking about?

    Susan August 20 2011

    I am with Anne.  Wally is being very insenstive and rude.  Not all Canadians are this rude so thank you for being a douche in your comment Wally.  I am from Canada as well. Where I live we can get quite a bit of snow, icy conditions and cold temperatures.  I have woken up to ice on my car that i had to pour hot water on to get in and there have been lots and lots of days where I have woken up to a foot or two on the ground…  Still, every year first snowfall, whether it is 1cm or 10 cm or 20cm…ice or no ice, even when warnings are posted and salters are out we still have tons of accidents.  So imagine a city that rarely ever gets snow and does not have the means to deal with it.  Of course the city will shut down.  Just because there appears to be only and inch (or maybe 2) of snow in the picture does not mean the conditions under the snow are not bad.  What we do not know is how much freezing rain is under the snow before the snow covered it… So with that being said… there is no need to be hostile and rude when all Warren is trying to do is let his loyal, understanding customers know that due to some unfavourable weather that is very rare in the area they live, some orders have been held up.  If the city does not get snow or ice and they do not have the proper salters or sanders to help make roads safer to drive on… I would be staying home too and I am Canadian that has been driving in snow conditions every year for 20 years!

    Girl From Canada August 19 2011

    Wow, the weird weather phenomenons sweeping the world just continue. We had record tornadoes in the US this year not seen in 60 years or possibly ever, record heat and drought in Texas affecting the crops, and record wildfires out west. This of course is in addition to the record earthquakes around the world. Some attribute it to changes in the sun while others think it may be due to a comet Elenin. Whatever the case changes have definitely been afoot over the last two years.

    Wonder which record and in what part of the world the next record weather event will occur.

    Chris August 19 2011

    Thanks Guys…actually I am sure that Wally was saying it in a ‘tongue in cheek’ manner and didn’t mean any offence.

    Actually the falls were much heavier than the photo shows. I live right on the ocean and the snow was less there. Some cars in the city were actually totally buried in snow. Yesterday three days after the snowfall I was driving along roads in the city and the mounds on the side of the road were in places up to 6 ft high.

    I thought that the warnings were over the top initially but then after I wrote the article I saw lots of clips on TV of cars trying to drive on the roads which interesting results…and people trying to walk on paths. Many of the roads were totally iced over and vehicles uncontrollable.

    Many people could not get out of their drives or along their paths because of the ice. Because this was a once in a lifetime event none of us had any salt to sprinkle on the driveways or paths as the only salt we have on hand is for the dinner table. Likewise we are not geared up to spread salt on the roads.

    The odd times that we do get a bit of ice, gravel is spread on the roads. That usually does the job because by 10am it is all gone. However, this time the polar blast that we experienced lasted three days and the ice and snow didn’t melt.

    As I mentioned we are well geared up for earthquakes but not for a one in a lifetime event such as this. Maybe it is a sign of things to come and we do have to gear up for it.

    Warren Matthews August 19 2011

    Hi  Warren

    The first snow fall always looks so nice, when it has not been disturbed.  I am sure all the children enjoyed making snow angels and snowman

    I just wanted to mention that not all of Canada has weather liked Wally described. Where I grew up we only get snow maybe 3 times during the winter months and it does not last long. I know a lot of people are under the assumption that we all live in igloos and have snow all year round and Walley’s comment does not help that perception    And that most Canadians are much more polite than Wally :)


    Anne August 19 2011

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