Alice Springs is located smack bang in the centre of Australia, surrounded on all sides by sandy deserts and arid plains. Coming from Darwin, we passed through Alice Springs on our way to the Uluru (Ayers Rock).
As we arrived into the town the sun was shining and we decided to stop and eat lunch at a local park. Nothing could have prepared us for what we were about to experience.
As we munched away on our delicious lunch we witnessed some pretty hectic, black clouds roll in from the south-west and heard the first of many booming thunder rolls. “Do you think we should pack up?” Alex asked. I wasn’t too worried about packing up in a hurry as I thought Alice Springs didn’t usually have strong storms let alone much rain.
How wrong I was.
By the time we were half way through the washing up, the rain started. We didn’t even get time to close the back door of the van after abandoning the washing up before hail the size of golf balls started falling. Holy crap… this is serious!
We stuffed everything in to the van, slammed the doors and jumped inside to hide from the painful ice balls and horizontal rain. We decided it was a good idea to drive away from the tree we were parked under, but didn’t get far down the road before we couldn’t see anything.
The hail pelted down for a good 15 minutes, getting stronger and stronger. The gutters were awash with raging torrents of icy water and the normally bare landscape turned completely white with hail. We had to yell above the thundering sound of ice on the roof and prepared ourselves for Vanda to take a beating.
Finally the storm subsided a little and we were able to move the car to a better spot. We jumped straight outside to inspect Vanda and check for any damage. Incredibly she was untouched – not even a dent! We couldn’t believe our luck.
We were frozen, (the temperature dropped from 30 to 12 degrees in that 15 minutes) drenched and in shock – but with massive smiles on our faces. The thrill and cold (after months of 35 degree days) made us feel alive and we were so relieved that Vanda survived untouched.
As we drove further we realised how lucky we had been. A few cars had been completely destroyed by falling trees and another two had crashed into each other in the rush to escape the storm. Sirens were blaring as the fire brigade and ambulance rushed to help the unlucky ones.
Weather like this is unheard of in Alice, and it looks like we weren’t the only unprepared ones – even the Coles and Woolworths supermarkets had to shut their doors due to severe flooding.
That night we had an ice fight on the streets – the ice still hadn’t melted! We’ll never forget our icy visit to the centre of Australia.
Check out this video that we filmed right as the hail was pelting down – it gives you more insight into how crazy the storm was. Remember to click the CC button on the bottom right of the screen to watch with English subtitles.