Incredible footage of a rare meso-cyclone weather phenomenon has been captured in Christchurch this afternoon.
The formation is the precursor to a tornado, and made for apocalyptic looking scenes in the suburb of Sydenham.
Two people have been taken to Christchurch Hospital with moderate injuries after a small tornado touched down in the area around 2pm.
The tornado swept through the Sydenham Savemark, lifting a section of the roof off.
Video sent to 1 NEWS shows swirling winds ripping through the area in a circular motion around the time of the incident.
1 NEWS meteorologist Dan Corbett explained the conditions leading up to the wild weather this afternoon.
"Conditions were perfect for making a thunderstorm with very cold air in the atmosphere, then the southerly winds down low went up and met the cold air above.
"The unstable air then mixed with some spinning clouds that caused conditions to create a tornado.
"The thunderstorm cell has now moved offshore, but unstable conditions will still exist for the next few hours," Corbett warns.
In another incident, Fire and Emergency NZ attended a crash near Dunsandal south of Christchurch at 1.30pm which they assume was related to the southerly weather system that whipped through Canterbury.
Two people were initially trapped and suffered serious injuries in the crash with one being transported by helicopter to Christchurch Hospital.
Shortly after lightning strikes caused a number of hedge and scrub fires to the East between State Highway one and the township of Leeston.