Hail stones up to about 3cm in diameter have ripped across mid-Canterbury, smashing windows and damaging crops.
A southerly storm working its way up the South Island dropped hail on Mayfield, near Ashburton, for about 50 minutes.
Several locals have told The Press the hailstorm broke many windows at homes and businesses in the township.
Local crop farmer Rab McDowell predicted about 40 per cent of his carrot and maize crops were a ''right off'', but he would know more in the morning.
''I haven't seen hail through here that broke windows before.''
- Fairfax Media