Lightning strike sets house on fire

Horror commute ... Lightning strikes played havoc with Melbourne's rail system.
Horror commute ... Lightning strikes played havoc with Melbourne's rail system.

A lightning strike - one of 3000 to hit the state - ignited a fire in the roof of a family home causing a blaze that destroyed most of the house in Melbourne's south-east.

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Neighbours in Adelong Court, Berwick, heard a loud crack seconds before seeing smoke coming from the roof of the house, which then caught fire about 9.20am on Tuesday.

Five trucks and 20 firefighters took 30 minutes to bring the fire under control, but 60 per cent of the house was destroyed. The occupants were not home at the time.

A Country Fire Authority spokeswoman said it was rare for lightning to cause house fires.

Melbourne has borne the brunt of up to 3000 lightning strikes across Victoria after a thunderstorm hit in the early hours of Tuesday.

Bureau of Metrology senior forecaster Terry Ryan said thunderstorms were common in November, but rain did not normally accompany them.

"The thunder has brought quite a bit of rain with it, which is unusual for Melbourne," Mr Ryan said.

"November was looking a bit grim before this morning, but this rain has brought 25mm to 30mm across Melbourne."

He said the rain had boosted the paltry 13.8mm recorded this month, which was well below the November average of about 60mm.

"This November has been particularly dry on the back of a dry spell of the last three months," Mr Ryan said.

He said November rains for the previous three years had been above average, with falls of 104mm to 115mm.

Mr Ryan said the hot weather forecast for Thursday of 36 degrees was likely to be revised up - possibly to 38 degrees.

He said the bureau believed the temperature may even reach 40 degrees based on the hot weather pattern coming from central Australia.

"We have had only three days in the 40s in 150 years of weather in Melbourne so it would be one out of the box," Mr Ryan said.

Mildura is expected to to clock 38 degrees today, 40 degrees tomorrow and 44 degrees on Thursday, before a "cool change" on Friday bringing 34 degrees.

Melbourne is expecting 23 degrees by Saturday.

This story Lightning strike sets house on fire first appeared on The Age.