By now probably everyone has read or seen in the news that the South Island was hit by a major earthquake about 36 hours ago, just about 2 minutes into Monday morning (00:02am). While being about 200 kilometres from the epicentre of the EQ, we also felt it, I never quite managed to figure out what magnitude it “felt” like here, but I think 6ish is reasonable.
Just to put this into perspective, there haven’t been an awful lot of strong earthquakes over the past years in Wellington or its surrounding areas. If anyone interested I’ve uploaded an image w/ stats here.
Thing is, I don’t want to go on into how it was because apart from the strong/odd but not explicitly violent shaking here in WLG I think it’s been a lot less bad/terrible than in Kaikoura. It’s more like being in an airplane while during turbulence but without the safety belts.
The city is in an odd state at the moment. I went to wander around downtown Wellington yesterday, and found that there has been mostly minimal damage to structures. While I did take a few photos, they aren’t particularly exciting to look at, no doomsday buzz anywhere, probably for the better. Despite all that, there have been hardly any people in the city yesterday – a few streets were cordoned off, but while the area was theoretically open for business, all offices and services (cafés, restaurants, etc) were closed. Lambton Quay, probably the local “high street” was void of people, save for a few tourists. WLG became a proper ghost town.
In times like this public transport shuts down, there are no trains running, and most people stay at home waiting for news on what to do. It also doesn’t help that the WLG wharf is shut down due to damage. At least food was still available as the supermarkets have opened, but that’s mostly it.
It’s now Tuesday here, many offices, including ours are still closed, and it’s likely they won’t open any time soon, at least this is what we’ve been told – in fact our offices will be closed all week, probably due to flooding but not sure. I think while the office building is structurally safe there has been damage to the internal parts, probably things falling off etc. The semi-official plan seems to be to keep people out of the offices for as long as they deem it’s okay, so we’re all getting free holidays (save for the awful weather). The company has been sending out emails with information on e-counselling in case someone needs it, how to cope w/ post-EQ stress, and so on. Luckily in my case this hasn’t been necessary but it’s good to know there are options. Things have been made worse by extreme weather. WLG has received around 100mm of rainfall over the past 24 hours, which has resulted in severe floodings, which, coupled by the up to 90kmh winds doesn’t help anyone. To put that into perspective, London gets around 600mm a year, Budapest gets 500mm. Wellington usually gets around 1200mm.
Welcome to Wellington, the coolest, rockiest, windiest little capital in the world!