Damage after 'severe' hailstorm
Lumley Insurance has received about 40 calls about claims for damage caused by hail in Christchurch.
Brilliant displays of lightning and roaring thunder were followed by big hailstones across the city last night. In some suburbs they measured three centimetres in diameter.
Lumley spokeswoman Michelle O'Neill said the claims mostly included damaged roofs, conservatories, skylights, greenhouses and carports, and holes in spouting and guttering. There had also been reports of damage to vehicles.
She expected the number of claims to increase during the day.
A Fire Service spokesman said a roof was blown off a Blankney St property in Hornby in last night's storm.
"We got a call about 6.30pm that the roof had been lifted. We sent a crew out there from Lincoln to help put some tarps up."
A conservatory in Wingate St in Redwood collapsed "under the weight of the hail", he said.
MetService said there were 140 lightning strikes from "cloud to ground" within 150 kilometres of Cathedral Square.
MetService meteorologist Dan Corbett described the event as a "one-in-10-year event".
"It may be even rarer," he said.
MetService weather forecaster Allister Gorman said last night that hailstones larger than 20 millimetres put the storm in the "severe" category.
There were about 300 lightning flashes in Canterbury, Gorman said.
Redwood resident Craig Williams' damaged conservatory had several holes up to 5cm wide.
"Our cat Sooty sleeps in there, but I bet he would have shot out of there when it struck," Williams said.
"To top things off we are not covered by insurance as the previous owners did not get a permit to build the conservatory. Damn."
In Papanui, residents David and Anne Clarkson's conservatory and spouting also had holes.
David Clarkson said the hail sounded like "gunfire" as it struck their 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 gunshots," 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," he said.
Clarkson today found more holes, about 15cm wide, in the spouting of his house.
''I've never seen a hailstorm 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 awoke to about 10 holes in her spouting.
"There are these huge holes all round the house. The hail was so powerful,'' she said.
''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.
"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 the Northlands Shopping Centre 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 hail.
"He was running across the car park and it belted him in the side of the head. He was bleeding, poor bugger,'' Cooper said.
''He didn't seem too fazed though; he just carried on with his shopping afterwards."
A Press reader from Redwood 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," he said.