Well, the last day of Summer has started with a bang.
I rode in to the art school this morning on the inner north bike tracks, which, once you got to the Turner end of O'Connor, were AMAZING. Hail up to my ankles, trees denuded to make a bizarre green autumn landscape. There was mist everywhere, but warm sun as well. It was like being in a fantasy film. There were times when I could only just crunch through the thick hail drifts without slipping over, but I wasn't cold (just wet-bummed!).
And yes, the art school was closed, with groups of people hovering around the main entrance fretting over their precious things inside. Including me, with my open windows. But the windows (of which apparently there a lot last night) turned out to be the least of our worries.
Apparently around midnight big holes opened up in the school's roof, and water was coming down the walls in sheets. People who were living there (the school has flats for visiting artists and commuting interstate sessional staff) were evacuated, and no-one else allowed to enter because of exposed electricals posing an extreme hazard. One colleague snuck in very early this morning, and told me that there IS flooding in the Book Studio, but it's mostly on the floors, and doesn't seem to have affected the cupboards and storage areas. Which is something of a mercy, but I can't help worrying about the presses and type in a damp atmosphere.
So I headed home. All the way home students were shouting out to each other on the bike paths: 'Uni Closed! No Lectures! Go Home!" It felt like living among the days of town criers. Apparently the university has at least 60 buildings damaged; there seems to have been a belt of hail that swept through west Belconnen, Black Mountain, Turner, Civic, Reid, Braddon, Ainslie and Campbell, but suburbs like Dickson and Downer and Lyneham only got the fringe of the hail. We had a spiffing storm, though, and thanks to that and all the other evening storms we've been getting, we're looking quite green.
This is a self-portrait (being green), because, of course, this blog is a first person narrative and every post shall be about ME. Seriously, though, this is not just a thin layer of hail on grass. This is a layer of hail and fresh leaf-litter than was over ankle-deep. My arms were hot and my feet were COLD.
More photos in my flickr set.
Christy has some excellent photos as well, some taken by Paul in the middle of the night. A friend sent me some action shots of Civic directly post-storm, and
UPDATE: Here's my favorite shot from the batch my friend sent me:
They were taken by the ActewAGL Networks and Distribution team, and you can see some of the others at my flickr set.
We just had more hail at 4.30pm while Bumblebee was in the local pool having a swimming lesson! All the kids were sent out of the pool right smart.
The latest on the university and art school (as of 5pm) is that they will be closed until at least Friday. I feel a bit helpless; I've got a client's artist's book mockup sitting out in the open on a table in the studio, and I'm crossing fingers that the $1000 worth of paper sitting on my office floor will be ok. Sigh.