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Severe weather and a reported mini-tornado has caused extensive damage to property in North Canterbury tonight.
Fire service shift manager Andrew Norris said a "cluster of houses" in Amberley, 50km north of Christchurch, had been badly damaged at about 6.30pm.
There were reports that the damage was as the result of a tornado, but that had not been confirmed, he said.
"We've got one house that's almost lost it's roof completely [and]another house that's got a damaged roof and windows blown in."
There is also a "cluster of houses" nearby which have "varying degrees of damage". Fire fighters are at the scene but have yet to confirm the scale of the damage, Mr Norris said.
Five additional units are also on the way.
There were no reports of injury, Mr Norris said.
The storm, which moved up from South Canterbury, had since blown out to sea.
A respite in the severe weather was expected early evening, with thunderstorm activity forecast to ease.