I’ve been bitching about the weather here in Perth for the past few months but learned a lesson on Monday. There has been a lot of stuff on the web about this, but I thought I’ll write a small account on my experience just for the sake of it. So here goes.
I was in the office being my usual busy self. At about four in the afternoon the power was fluctuating so I left early. This is only because I didn’t want to damage any of the computers and not because I didn’t want to work anymore :-). All the traffic lights were out from the office to the freeway, but I was able to get on the freeway pretty quickly. Once on the freeway, I have to drive past the city and there’s always bumper-to-bumper traffic out of the city at this time. As soon as I pass the city, the rain started. First, it’s pretty ordinary then it starts getting more and more furious. In about 5 minutes the rain is pummelling down so hard that I can barely see 10 feet in front of me. Then it started.
Bang, bang, bang. Hailstones started hitting the car. Huge hailstones are falling all over the place like crazy. It’s like someone is throwing rocks at the car. I was freaking out not knowing what to do. Should I keep going? Should I stop and try to take shelter? BANG, BANG. The hail is now much bigger and consequently the noise they make much louder. I must say it is the most scared I’ve ever been in my life. I was so sure that the windscreen would break at anytime. I could even see hailstones hitting the windscreen and break into small pieces. I kept on going since I could see the clouds breaking up ahead. A few more minutes of this and the rain and hail eased up and I felt so relieved. By this time I had reached to the exit on the freeway. Ah, only 2km to home.
I take the exit and before getting far there’s a huge number of hailstones spinning around like a tornado. I had to literally drive through it and was freaking out even more than before. Luckily these hailstones were much smaller than the ones that hit the car before. There’s zero visibility but I somehow managed to keep going. As soon as I pass the tornado like thingy it’s calm again. Before long I got home and breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Turns out it was a good thing I left the office when I did. The cars that were left in the office car park looked like someone had taken to them with a hammer. There are a few dents on the hood and bonnet of my car as well. But they are almost insignificant compared to what some of the other cars looked like.
All in all it was a very exciting experience. Although it was nothing major like a Tsunami or earthquake the damage from this storm is in excess of a hundred million dollars. I must commend the locals for being very patient on the roads in the midst of the storm. I like to think of it as prelude to 2012.