Living in the roaring forties….

13 05 2016

As I think I  have mentioned here several times already, I was warned Arve Road was a wind tunnel…… but last night outdid itself!  With wind gusts of 109km/h, living inside a tin drum (aka the apple packing shed) is challenging.  I was woken up by such a sharp jolt that shook the entire building so much, I could have sworn a vehicle had hit the shed!  From then on, I was lucky to snatch a few minutes of sleep at a time.

Tasmania is of course in the roaring forties.  All places in latitudes of between 40 and 50 degrees, whether South or North, are very windy places, highly suitable for wind power, but also very uncomfortable in exposed areas like Geeveston that is in an E/W aligned valley.  The westerlies come roaring down this valley, with few obstacles to slow it down, my shed being the sole exception!

Screenshot-1

The current weather map (above) shows isobars very close together, and they mean lots of wind, with that arrow saying 45 knots (83km/h!), and I expect it’s the average speed.  Those blue lines are cold fronts, and at the moment they are queuing up and arriving here every second day or so.  It’s snowed down to 700m a couple of times already this week, though today the wind has blown the clouds clear through to New Zealand…. where I notice the wind’s even faster at 50 knots!  The Huon Valley and the Channel area bore the brunt, with trees blown over roads, powerlines and houses damaged, while the Huon Highway was blocked in both directions after a tree was brought down over the road.

The good news is that it was announced last night that Tasmania is once again running on 100% renewable energy as some of the higher dams have filled up to overflow.  The Tamar Valley gas fired station has been shut down, as have all the diesel generators recently imported.

overflowing dam

Cethana power plant

The goose tractor at the Fanny Farm has been blown away, again, this time four rows of apple trees. I will definitely have to decapitate this device, it’s way too tall for the windy conditions, and I can’t have it rolling all over the orchard if I’m going to fill it with ducks.

Observing all these conditions is of course part and parcel of designing an appropriate permaculture plot.  At least the house site is well chosen, the wind there and above it where the market garden will go is far slower than anywhere else on the farm…. even bearable!