Invercargill summer . . . Hail covers the road in
Invercargill during a storm that sent pedestrians
scurrying, and flooded buildings yesterday. Photo by NZPA
Invercargill was battered yesterday by what an emergency
service official described as one of the worst hailstorms the
city has experienced.
The storm, which struck just before 2pm, sent pedestrians
running for cover and flooded homes and businesses. The Fire
Service received 38 callouts for flooding in 45 minutes.
Fire Service Southland area manager Brendan Nally said
volunteer and off-duty staff were brought in to cope.
Buildings, including some large commercial premises, were
flooded across the city.
‘‘I wouldn't be surprised if it was one of the worst ones
we've had. There'll be a few insurance claims,'' Mr Nally
Invercargill department store H & J Smith Ltd cleared
customers from the premises and locked the doors about 2.35pm
while staff worked to mop up water on both floors of the
It was too early to say how much damage the hailstorm had
caused, and chief executive John Green was waiting until the
building and products dried out to make a further assessment.
Invercargill resident June Thomas was shopping in The
Warehouse in Leven St, central Invercargill, when the
hailstorm struck. Staff were running around with buckets
trying to catch water pouring into the building, she said.
‘‘It was quite frightening. The noise of the hail hitting the
tin roof was deafening.''
MetService spokesman Bob McDavitt said the storm hit
Riverton, about 40km northwest of Invercargill, about 1.45pm
and moved east. It would have taken about an hour to cross
the city. The brunt of the storm would have lasted about
10-15 minutes in each area as it passed over.
MetService measured 5mm-8mm diameter hailstones, and 7.6mm of
rain in an hour at Invercargill Airport. The thunderstorm
dropped the temperature from 15degC to 8degC, Mr McDavitt
About 1500 lightning strikes were recorded in the four hours
it took the storm to pass, 500 of which would have been at
The storm passed the south of the Catlins area before moving
A rainstorm that hit Dunedin in the early evening was a
different storm, though from the same air mass, a MetService
spokesman said. Dunedin received 23mm of rain between 7pm and