A car was destroyed by a lightning strike in St George.
A car was destroyed by a lightning strike in St George.

Car destroyed by freak lightning strike in overnight storm

THUNDERSTORMS around St George have delivered welcome rain to some, but one man has had a very close call with mother nature, when his car was struck by lightning.

The car, belonging to local man Robert Riley, was struck on Monday night, when particularly fierce storms lashed the area; it caught fire and was destroyed.

Mr Riley told the Balonne Beacon he was watching the storm with a friend when the lightning hit, and they didn't immediately realise it had struck the car.

"We were sitting out on the verandah, when we heard a loud crack, and thought the lightning had hit a nearby power pole, not my car," he said.

"I went out to move my car from under the tree where it was parked, and saw there was smoke coming out from under the bonnet and the dashboard.

"The it went up in flames."

Thankfully, the local fire brigade was able to extinguish the blaze before it reached the fuel tank, which had been filled earlier that day.

Mr Riley, a lifelong local of St George, said the freak incident could be a town-first.

"In my 68 years, I have seen cars burned out after someone had stolen them, but never one that had been struck by lightning; I guess that makes it quite exciting

Another local resident, Donna Waters, saw what has left of the lightning-hit vehicle the following morning, and said she was in disbelief.

"You would not believe it until it happened to you, or someone you know," she said.

"It is usually one of those things you hear about, happening in other places."

When Ms Waters shared a picture of the vehicle on social media, fellow locals shared their experience.

Tracey Campbell commented that the lightning strike was so loud, she though it was her own home which was hit.

"It literally shook our house, and I got out of bed to see the car on fire," she said.

St George has experienced thunderstorms for the past two nights, thanks to a large surface trough, which has dropped isolated falls around the region.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Rosa Hoff said the storms have been fuelled by a large surface trough, but when it comes to rain totals, those with the higher numbers were lucky to be under the right clouds.

"The best storms with the highest totals were just to the east of Roma, but we also saw some good storm activity around St George … we saw around 30mm fall at Warroo," she said.

"They did vary around the area in terms of spatial distribution; there was one large storm through the Maranoa and Warrego, and then a few more further towards the central west."

Moving forward, St George can expect a sunny week, with chances of rain dipping.

However, some showers are still possible to the northeast of town on Wednesday afternoon, with a small chance of one last thunderstorm.