Damage after 'severe' electrical storm
Last night's large electrical storm in Canterbury saw 140 lightning strikes from "cloud to ground" within 150 kilometres of Cathedral Square.
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MetService meteorologist Dan Corbett described the event as a "one-in-10-year event".
"It may be even rarer."
MetService weather forecaster Allister Gorman said last night hailstones larger than 20 millimetres put the storm in the "severe" category.
There were about 300 lightning flashes in Canterbury, Gorman said.
Christchurch residents David and Anne Clarkson woke today to find last night's hailstorm had left huge holes in their conservatory and spouting.
Brilliant displays of lightning and roaring thunder were followed by big hailstones across the city. In some suburbs they measured about three centimetres in diameter.
David Clarkson said the hail sounded like "gunfire" as it struck their Papanui house.
"We were just at home and suddenly we heard this noise coming for us. We thought it was a train at first. Then it started hitting the roof like gun shots," he said.
The hail ripped through the plastic roof of their conservatory, creating a hole about 7cm wide.
"Anne found a big piece of hail on the floor. It broke straight through."
This morning Clarkson found more holes, about 15cm wide, in the spouting of his house.
"I had a good look around this morning and found more holes in the plastic spouting. I've never seen a hail storm like this before. I didn't realise how much damage it could do. Our cars were in the garage so they're OK, but I imagine a few people will have some dents and paint chips this morning."
Clarkson said he would contact his insurance company today to deal with the damage.
"We've got about three days to fix this before the weather turns again and it starts raining or we're going to have a very wet house," he said.
Fellow Papanui resident Val Upton also awoke to about 10 holes in her spouting this morning.
"There's these huge holes all round the house. The hail was so powerful. I went for a walk this morning and there seems to be quite a lot of the same thing around the same area."
Her first task of the day was to call her insurance company, she said.
"We haven't been up on the roof yet but I hope there are no holes up there. It better not start raining again."
Andy Cooper was at Northlands Mall when the hailstorm hit and said the noise was "deafening".
"The fire alarm went off and we were all shunted outside. We could hear this thundering noise coming but we didn't know what it was. You could see people were quite scared," he said.
"Then there were these huge bangs as it started hitting the cars and the car alarms all went off. It just got louder and louder until it was deafening. Everyone was sheltering under the eave of the mall to get out of it."
Cooper saw one man "walloped" in the side of the head by a big piece of hail.
"He was running across the car park and it belted him in the side of the head. He was bleeding, poor bugger. He didn't seem too fazed though, he just carried on with his shopping afterwards."
A Redwood resident said his caravan roof was "peppered with dents".
"The bonnet of the company ute is not much better. I think we're all going to be in for a bit of a shock when we see things in the light of day."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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