Friday, March 12, 2010

Weather is serious news here

This afternoon, after a month of solid sunshine, Wellington made friends with a giant southerly front, direct from Antarctica.

(Epic storm front coming over Wellington harbour. All images from

Wellingtonians seem to have a complex relationship with weather: they've long realised that their city is a blustery storm trap for squally, meterological events. The airport's slogan is "Wild At Heart" and all the "welcome" style flags around the run-way bear the statement: "Wellington Aiport, Celebrating 50 WILD years". (If you never plan on flying to Wellington, or if you do, and don't mind anticipating bit of a wild ride, check out this video compilation of plane landings.)

In the arts field too, the weather plays a significant role: public sculptures are deliberately designed around the winds. Sculptures reel, spin, wave and light up as the wind blows through them.There's also "weather" poetry (see the Wellington based anthology, Big Weather).

Even on a day-to-day basis, a calm (oh! pun!) acceptance of the weather takes place: people don't bother with umbrellas and will never run somewhere in the rain if they'd normally walk.

Intense weather then, is a universally acknowledged truth.

Except, somehow, weather remains to be news. It's a national preoccupation. I am convinced that the weather report takes up a good half of the evening news bulletin. But I don't understand why. I mean, Wellingtonians (and New Zealanders in general) know that the weather can get spectacularly nasty. But why then does a storm front become a lead news item? Weather is not news. It's a constant.

And right now, it's constantly wild.

xx Esther

1 comment:

  1. It's news because it's newsworthy... In the same way that a flash flood or an earthquake is news worthy. You have to keep in mind that this is NZ and not a huge amount happens here in the first place, so extreme weather that trashes the joint is fairly interesting.

    Nice conclusion of Wellingtonians' attitude to weather though.