Victoria is bracing for more wild weather with warnings of life-threatening flash flooding and severe thunderstorms across the state.
- Heavy rain and thunderstorms expected to hit parts of Victoria this afternoon and evening
- BOM warning of potential hail and flash flooding
- Stratford, near Sale, had 50mm of rain overnight
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is warning of heavy rainfall and potential flash flooding in the Mallee, Northern Country, Wimmera and parts of Gippsland between Warragul, Mt Baw Baw and Sale.
“Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce intense rainfall that may lead to dangerous and life-threatening flash flooding and large hailstones over the next several hours,” a weather warning said.
Already a severe thunderstorm over Stratford in Gippsland produced 82mm of rain today, while 61mm of rain has fallen at Mt Moornapa, north of Sale.
The State Emergency Service is warning people in storm-affected areas to check outdoor furniture, umbrellas and trampolines are safely secured and to avoid driving where possible.
The BOM also put out a flood warning just before midday for people in North East Victoria and East Gippsland.
The bureau warned significant areas in the flood-watch area had been affected by bushfires, which could “result in faster and stronger river responses to rainfall.”
There were forecasts of 20-50mm of rain in flood-watch areas between today and tomorrow, with isolated totals of up to 100mm possible.
The BOM has warned this will increase the risk of localised flooding, landslides and debris across roads in fire-affected areas.
If people are on the road in dangerous conditions, they should pull over away from trees, drains and low-lying areas, the SES says.
Weather at it’s ‘weirdest’
In Brewster, west of Ballarat, farmer Ian Mathews told the ABC he had received 205mm of rain overnight, after losing 130 acres of pasture to fire on Wednesday.
“It’s just unbelievable, it was that heavy and intense,” he said of the rain.
“From fire to floods in a matter of four or five days, but on the whole the rain, that much of it, has been a bit of a nuisance, but it hasn’t done that much damage,” he said.
Carley Hodge is a farmer in Stratford, which has been affected by drought. She said couldn’t be happier with the heavy rain that started falling last night.
“I have never slept so well with the rain on the roof, I mean there is nothing like rain to put you to sleep, especially after this long,” she said.
Stratford on the River Tourist Park owner Shaun Perrett said he was shocked the region was finally getting rain after experiencing dry conditions for so long.
“The river is coming up a little way but probably because it has had no rain forever there is a whole lot of stuff washing down as well,” he said.
That included bits of trees and debris.
Mr Perrett said he had been running around clearing drains, but there had no been any serious issues with the downpour.
“It is a bit of a relief, we are just hoping they are getting a bit of rain further east.”
Hail could hit Melbourne again
Heavy rain was also forecast for Melbourne, possibly bringing more hail, after flash flooding and golf ball-sized hail destroyed skylights and roofs yesterday.
Meteorologist Dean Narramore said there was the potential for hail to hit isolated areas in Melbourne again on Monday.
Mr Narramore said between 10 millimetres and 30mm of rain was expected in most Melbourne suburbs, but some would miss out.
Gusty winds through southern parts of the state will pick up today, prompting a strong wind warning for Port Phillip Bay.
State Emergency Service duty officer Gerry Sheridan told the ABC this morning that the SES received 1,500 callouts in the past 24 hours, with about 1,200 coming from metropolitan Melbourne.
Eastern suburbs including Glen Iris, Malvern, Warrandyte and Templestowe were hit the hardest, with Malvern SES volunteers receiving more than 450 calls for assistance in just two hours last night.
The majority of the calls concerned flooding and roof damage caused by hail smashing roof tiles and skylights.
There were about 250 callouts for fallen trees, and four people across the state had to be rescued when they drove into floodwaters.
Firefighters and SES volunteers were called to a fallen tree at 6:30pm in Settlement Road, Thomastown, which was blocking four lanes of traffic and had damaged powerlines.
The state also experienced sporadic power outages but there was no major impact on infrastructure.
Wednesday to see increased fire risk
Mr Narramore said the storms would clear tomorrow, bringing sunshine and clear skies.
But the fire danger is expected to rise to severe and extreme in the north-west, north, and Wimmera from Wednesday afternoon when temperatures hit about 38 degrees Celsius.
Raised dust could also hit the north-west, and the fire danger is forecast to be very high for the rest of the state.
Melbourne temperatures will reach about 31C.
“The rain should help the north-east and east, but the wind will be worry from Wednesday afternoon until the evening and overnight as you get into the fire zones,” Mr Narramore said.
The current forecast for Australia Day weekend is for a sunny three days, but Mr Narramore said that could change.
Fire at Pipers Creek downgraded
Despite the torrential rain weather, an emergency warning was issued about 9:30pm last night for an out-of-control bushfire at Pastoria and Pipers Creek, near the Macedon Ranges.
An emergency warning was also issued for Lancefield and Newham, but both were downgraded to an advice warning by 10:45pm.
A rescue helicopter clipped a powerline in the area this morning but landed safely and was undamaged.
A number of watch and act warnings were downgraded to advice warnings overnight for the Upper Murray and in and around Mount Buffalo and Bright.