18 Nov 2008

Hail storm hits Ashburton

6:26 pm on 18 November 2008

Businesses in Ashburton are cleaning up the damage from a hailstorm on Monday.

Rodger Withell, who grows hydroponic lettuces for supermarkets and restaurants, says a volley of hailstones that came through his skylight sounded like "100 guns going off" about 4.30pm on Monday.

Mr Withell says the hailstones smashed about 80% of the glass in his glasshouses and also destroyed some lettuces.

Although it will take him two days to clean up the mess, Mr Withell believes other businesses have suffered worse damage.

Ashburton horticulturalist Grant Smith says he will have to look at other income sources after the hail storm destroyed much of his produce.

Mr Smith grows pears and raspberries but will have to focus on his pest control business after his crops were all but destroyed by the walnut-sized hail stones.

Mr Smith says the hail storm has also harmed next year's raspberry crops by destroying the canes from which the fruit would have grown.