Christmas forecast looks good

SARAH-JANE O'CONNOR
Last updated 12:14 19/12/2013
storm clouds christchurch
Daniel Tobin
STORM BREWS: Bubbling thunderclouds gather over Christchurch. The severe storms warned about missed the city but hit Banks Peninsula.

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Christchurch storm watchers poised for last night's storm may have been disappointed, but meterologists have optimistic news for Christmas.

Yesterday's storm heading up the South Island had Cantabrians on weather watch, with possible thunderstorms predicted.

Although south Canterbury towns were hit with heavy rain, hail and squally winds, the storm lost its puff before reaching Christchurch.

MetService meterologist Daniel Corbett said the best conditions for thunder were south of Christchurch, where air from the land and the sea converged to give the storm an ''extra lift''.

''It's almost like having a big fire and someone throwing on a can of petrol.''

As the storm tracked along the coastline, it moved towards Banks Peninsula and spared Christchurch from its brunt.

It was the second thunderstorm to hit the region this week.

On Monday night, Mid-Canterbury experienced hail stones up to 3cm in diameter that damaged crops and smashed windows in the Mayfield area.

Corbett said such thunderstorms were normal for this time of year, as warm weather heated the air close to land providing the right conditions for thunder.

Though several storms had rolled through in the last month, Corbett was optimistic for a mostly dry Canterbury Christmas.

Although there could be some showers early in the day, the front would probably move on ''pretty quickly'', he said.

''If I was planning a barbecue, I wouldn't cancel it.'' 

But he does advise telling your guests to bring a rain coat, just in case.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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