Hail, thunderstorms batter Canterbury

21:31, Apr 30 2013
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TRICKY: A cyclist with an umbrella rides through flooding at the corner of Gloucester and Manchester St today.
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DOWNPOUR: A wet view of Gloucester St from Press house.
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A flooded Pembroke St in Avondale after this afternoon's rainfall.
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HEAVY RAIN: Putake Drive flooded very quickly today.
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FLOODED: Vehicles were forced to drive on the wrong side of the road to get past.
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FLASH FLOOD: The verge was also submerged and most of the footpath.
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BIG WET: Flooding on Clarence St, south Addington today.

Canterbury has been battered by hail, thunderstorms and heavy rain, sparking flooding in some parts of Christchurch.

An 80-year-old woman suffered "borderline hypothermia" when she was caught in the rainstorm on Mt Herbert.

A Westpac rescue helicopter spokesman said the woman was part of a walking group who were "caught off guard" by the weather in Purau.

The group took shelter in a nearby hut until rescuers arrived.

The spokesman said she was "shivering and extremely cold" when they arrived.

She was flown to Christchurch Hospital  for observation.

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Rain also came pouring through part of the ceiling in the Wicked Campers office on Ferry Rd, with water still dripping from ceiling this afternoon.

A Wicked Campers employee, who did not want to be named, said it was "like a waterfall" pouring through the ceiling.

She began placing buckets down to try and contain the deluge.

"But that didn't really help," she said.

She rushed to move items being hit by the downpour, but the floor was flooded, soaking through the carpet.

"It was like a wee river."

She removed electrical items from the affected room, in case the rain began coming through other parts of the ceiling.

Despite the problems the weather had caused to the office, it had not impacted business.

"It was business as usual. Although people may have had to have waited a few more minutes until we found things we'd moved."

She was not concerned if more heavy rain came tonight.

"It can't do any more damage than what it's already done."

 

"Extreme rain" also flooded parts of The Colombo, causing the indoor mall to close for two hours today.

Rain seeped into the mall's atrium, Classic Clothing and its neighbouring store, Three Six Three Cafe, The Colombo spokeswoman Caroline Cooper-Dixon said.

Shop owners and retail assistants "hung out together" while the mall was shut down, the atrium was mopped up and and an electrician assessed the damage.

"The whole reason for closing the mall was for safety. We could have continued to trade but didn't want to risk anyone's safety," Cooper-Dixon said.

The mall has since reopened and Cooper-Dixon said it would not be closing again due to rain.

"I am glad it happened so early on as now we have sorted it all out and are all set for winter. I can tell you we will not be closing again."

A Fire Service spokesman said the service received about 20 calls over an hour from residents needing assistance with flooding.

Crews were called to Wicked Campers and also dealt with the flooding at The Colombo mall.

"The boys were a little bit busy, but it could have been worse," the spokesman said.

The McDonalds restaurant on Colombo St was also temporarily closed as a result of heavy rain.

An "active thunderstorm" developed near Ashburton and moving up the coast this mornign, bringing with it heavy rain of over 25 millimetres an hour and large hail of 20mm or more in diameter.

MetService said rainfall of this intensity could cause surface and flash flooding, especially in low-lying areas such as streams, rivers or narrow valleys. 

People were being urged to take care while driving.

Send your wild weather photos to reporters@press.co.nz

The Press