Lightning strikes Bendigo

THOUSANDS of households lost power and eight trees were set alight by lightning as a thunderstorm hit the region on Thursday night.

Thunder, sheets of lightning and heavy rain lashed central Victoria on Thursday night, with 2300 households affected by blackouts caused by the storm.

Powercor spokesman Drew Douglas confirmed 2095 customers around the Bendigo region lost power from 12.39am to 4.15am after trees fell on power lines.

CFA duty officer Craig Brittain said lightning strikes started eight tree fires around Bendigo.

“We had a lot of lightning come through the area, from the outskirts of Melbourne up through Macedon, Toolleen, Elmore,” he said.

“There was a bit of rain with the lightning as well so that helped the fires from spreading further.”

SES spokesman Lachlan Quick said despite the heavy storms, the SES received only two call-outs in the region.

SES workers helped to rescue a dog from a stormwater drain near Echuca and cleared a tree which fell down near Big Hill, blocking half the road.

“We had very few call-outs even though we might have had lots of storms and heavy rain,” Mr Quick said.

Bureau of Meterology spokesman David Morrison said more thunderstorms were forecasted for Monday and Tuesday, caused by a trough bringing tropical air over central Victoria.

“It’s being heated because of the already-hot ground inland of the state,” he said. “As it’s heated it develops into thunderstorms because of the moisture in the air and Bendigo was lucky enough to get one Thursday night.

“It was fairly slow-moving but high intensity. It was also fairly active electrically.”

Photographers capture storm

AMATEUR and professional photographers took to the hills and rooftops around Bendigo during Thursday night’s lightning storm. 

Several Bendigo Advertiser readers submitted images of the lightning, including Marcus Mawby. 

Mr Mawby shot photos from Mickey Mouse Hill over 45 minutes and combined the best five shots into a composite image, shown above. 

“It was probably the best part of town to get the city aspect in,” he said. “I’m a professional photographer and I’d been shooting all day. 

“I heard the thunder and thought I’d try to catch something for fun.” 

Mr Mawby said three other people had shot from the same site, and had moved when the lightning strikes came closer. 

“I’d been waiting for this for quite a while,” he said. “It doesn’t normally happen where you can get up to that spot without rain.” 

Brett Clearly from Lockwood South also took photos of the storm and said he had been scared by the lightning strikes.

“I’ve not seen those sort of lightning bolts in a long time,” he said. “It was a bolt like I’d never seen. 

“It was so thick at the base of it. 

“It looked amazing.”

Renee Meggs shot photos from her property in Goornong which she said had been surrounded by the bolts. 

“Whether I sat at the back, front or side of the house, it was just a matter of having the camera open, waiting for the bolt, and closing it for the next one,” she said. 

“I loved it. 

“The hard thing was not looking at the photos I’d taken in case I missed something else.” 

Darren Logan bought a camera about a year ago and said he managed to capture his first lightning photo during the storm. 

“I like trying to capture shots like that,” he said.

“I probably spent about 45 minutes out there or more trying to get it.

“It turned out well.”

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