Karamea School students got a lesson on the power of nature today on the West Coast, after lightning struck the school during lunchtime.

School principal Donna Donnelley said students were inside (due to rain) when two forks of lightning hit the school at about 12.15pm. One struck at the front of the school while the other seemed to hit one of the buildings along the side.

No one was injured, and students and teachers huddled in the library to keep safe, she said.

"We've got intermittent areas of power out, and of course can't use some of our computer systems ... no water ... "


She said she was very proud of her students using commonsense and staying indoors despite the evacuation bells going off.

"The students are well taught not to go out into a storm."

In fact, the bells were still ringing at 1.30pm, at which point a local electrician arrived to try to turn them off.

Donnelley said she wouldn't know the extent of the damage until the electrician had made his assessment.

The school closed at 2pm, however that was due to parent-teacher interviews.

"We had already planned to be closing early today."

The thunderstorm was violent, but over quickly, Ms Donnelley said.

"There was no civil defence warning out and there was no thunderstorm warning or watch for our area ... it just came out of the blue."