CLOSE CALL: The chard and defoliated tree on Broadwater Avenue that was struck by lightning on Sunday night.
CLOSE CALL: The chard and defoliated tree on Broadwater Avenue that was struck by lightning on Sunday night.

Local is ‘blinded by light’

HEIDI WARD has sat on the lip of an active volcano but the lightning that destroyed a tree outside her home on Sunday night was louder.

She awoke to an almighty crash in the early hours of Sunday morning thinking "that (strike) was really close".

"I was blinded by the light coming through the front window," she said.

Ms Ward said she checked on the kids and the dog and went back to sleep.

It was not until the next morning that she discovered how close it was. A four-metre-high tree on the nature strip just metres from her home in Airlie Beach offered confirmation of just how close the lightning had come to houses on Broadwater Avenue.

Ms Ward said she was not overly shaken by the lightening coming so close but she did wake up swearing.

Accompanying the lightning across large areas of the Whitsunday region was much-needed rain.

Hamilton Island received 19.2mm and 23.2mm on Sunday and Monday.

Proserpine fared even better by collecting 48.4mm in the gauge on Sunday and a further 17mm on Monday.

So far Proserpine is on target to receive better-than-average rainfall in January already having received 83.6mm.

Up River didn't miss out on rain recording 114mm since December 23 and further north in Gregory River 146mm fell this week.

Rick Threlsall from the Bureau of Metrology said early falls in January meant the monthly average of 292.7mm for Proserpine could be exceeded this month.

"It takes only one significant rain event to ensure the average rainfall is met," he said.

He said the chance of rain would increase from 40-50% tomorrow, to between 60 and 70% on Saturday.

Gardeners and farmers will be grateful for the rain after lower than average precipitation was recorded for the month of December. On November 1 last year parts of the Whitsunday region were officially drought declared by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.


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