A lightning strike has closed a school in Whanganui this afternoon.

The lightning caused loss of power and phone service at Rutherford Intermediate School in Tawhero about 1pm.

Principal Diane Henare said children were being sent home early and the school's priority was to get them safely home.

More would be known about the extent of the damage tomorrow.

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Last week, a lightning strike took out the power supply to the Kai Iwi district north of Whanganui, along with a transformer that delivers power to pumps providing water to the city.

It was one of 89 lightning strikes recorded in the Whanganui district over the 24 hours to Wednesday last week.