Wednesday, February 28, 2007

How excitement, INDEED

green path

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!).

bike path drifts

hail drifts

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.

School of Art

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.

self portrait

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 I'm just waiting for her ok to blog them. They're pretty amazing.

UPDATE: Here's my favorite shot from the batch my friend sent me:

Civic storm

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.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad neither my home or work got damaged... but on the other hand, I'm a little jealous of all the people who got the excitment!


Anonymous said...

And therefore all that lovely money that VC Chubb reckons can't possibly be spent on useless things like staff but only useful things like buildings will come in handy....

girlprinter said...

Crossing my fingers for that paper (type & presses too!)

nick cetacean said...

Jeez, I think everyone in Canberra must have got that photo with the couple crossing the road in civic... it was sent to me at least twice..

At the height of the storm and at great personal cost, I scooped up a big lunch box of hail thinking it would all be gone soon...

Of course there was still hail sitting around at 5pm the next day...

Val said...

Unbelievable sights in Canberra. I do hope the book studio and contents are ok.

lauren said...

holy moley!! reminds me of the big hail storm in sydney a few years ago - i rushed home, thinking that i was going to be up to my eyeballs in crap damage, only to find it all snug as a bug. hope the same goes for you