Monday, March 22, 2010


It's not until you're in the middle of a news story that you realise just how hopeless and incompetent most news services are.

About two hours ago, the most powerful storm that Perth has seen in more than 30 years swept through the city. I was (and still am) at work, and at first I marveled at the dark skies and lashing rain. Then as the sky went virtually black, and the trees start spasming in the wind, I quickly backed away from the windows.

The sound of hailstones on the roof made it difficult to talk. My boss politely asked me to check for leaks, since we've had problems with our roof in heavy rain before. Less than five minutes later every other piece of work, every other meeting or activity had stopped, as staff rushed about trying to save computers and equipment. Water was cascading down the inside of the windows and flooding the floors. The hailstones smashed the skylight over our receptionist's desk, then proceeded to smash everything on her desk, including a pen that was snapped in half by a hailstone, spraying ink over everything. Another skylight shattered in the Purchasing Officer's office, soaking everything in there.

Outside there was pandemonium. Part of the roof on a lecture theatre building had collapsed, and a river of water and debris was flowing out the doors. The trees had been stripped as if by giant, hungry ruminants, and the leaves were plastered on the roads and buildings so thickly it was sometimes hard to tell what colour they were. The car parks were underwater, and every second or third car had shattered windows. My beloved MX5 didn't lose any glass, but the tail lights were shattered and every metal surface was peppered with dimples where hailstones as large and hard as golfballs had slammed into it.

There are alarms ringing everywhere - car alarms, burglar alarms, and ambulance sirens in the distance. The mobile network is clogged and doesn't work. The internet is running too slowly for the digital TV in our conference room to work. The roads are flooded and gridlocked. The fire alarm is lit up and squealing up at the other end of my corridor, but no one has come to shut it off. From my office I can see the rain still pouring in through the pulversied skylight in reception.

So basically it's the apocalypse.

And what do I find when I look to the news websites to get the latest on what life's like beyond what I can see out my windows?

At least 17 sets of traffic lights have been knocked out by the storm and roads north and south of the city have been flooded.

There are reports of property damage with the windows of at least one home in Nedlands damaged by hail.

17 sets of traffic lights, you say? One home damaged? The odd window broken, maybe? My, how dashed inconvenient.

The damage bill for our offices and car park alone will run into the millions of dollars. When the traffic clears and I get home from work (which I'm expecting will be close to midnight), who knows what I'll find - my fences torn down, my windows shattered, my living room flooded - but hey, at least I know that 17 traffic lights were out.


Anonymous Jarvis Cochrane said...

If it's the apocalypse, should I page you?

8:02 PM  
Anonymous Jarvis Cochrane said...

Or just get a platoon of SMGs to parachute in? ;-)

12:20 PM  
Blogger an9ie said...

Yep, I used to envy you ivy-league campus workers, but not on that day. Very sorry to hear about the car :(

How was your house?

12:23 AM  

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