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Severe weather sees Victorians experience four seasons in one day

POSTED: 
21 December 2017

Victorians have this week experienced extreme weather conditions that ranged from one end of the weather scale to the other in a 24 hour period.

Temperatures soared to the low 40s in parts of the state on Monday and Tuesday, with a heat health alert issued for Victoria’s north-east regions as temperatures remained high overnight.

Total fire bans were declared as a result of severe fire danger ratings in the Mallee, Wimmera, Northern Country and the North East districts on Tuesday. With lightning forecast and ongoing fires in locations around the state (including at Cann River in far east Gippsland and Mooralla in the Grampians), ground crews and aircraft were strategically positioned across the state ready to respond.

Temperatures increased steadily into the high 30's to low 40’s over western and central parts of Victoria on Tuesday, with gusty north and north-easterly winds and Severe Fire Danger Ratings recorded through the northwest and north central regions. The highest temperatures were recorded at Avalon Airport (40.8C), Swan Hill (40.6C), Mildura (39.7C), and Laverton (39.1C). 

A cold front swept through the state, triggering thunderstorms in the northwest and extending south to the Melbourne area by 4pm. The highest rainfall was recorded in inner and eastern Melbourne between 7:00pm and 8:30pm, with Maribyrnong receiving 14mm in just 5 minutes and 20mm falling at Olympic Park over 15 minutes. 

State Response Controller, Tim Wiebusch, said crews were kept busy over Tuesday and Wednesday, responding to more than 2200 requests for assistance. 

“Vic SES crews were inundated with calls across the state for incidents involving building damage, fallen trees, powerlines and landslides.

“All emergency service crews are to be commended for their efforts in assisting those Victorians impacted by Tuesday’s wild weather.”

The hardest hit areas included Manningham in Melbourne’s east, Mildura, Kilmore, Wangaratta, the King Valley, Taradale, and Bendigo, where a number of local residents required temporary accommodation due to building damage.

More than 110,000 homes and businesses were left without power, with Bendigo, Shepparton, Mildura, Benalla and Cranbourne reporting the highest number of outages. 

Conditions continued to ease throughout Wednesday and power companies worked to restore power to the community.  1600 homes and businesses in the King Valley, Wangaratta and Benalla remain without power and work continues to restore service in these areas.

“Victoria’s weather can be unpredictable and change rapidly at this time of the year. We encourage Victorians to remain aware of weather forecasts and know where to get emergency information,” Tim Wiebusch said.

Be prepared for the summer, download the VicEmergency app, add www.emergency.vic.gov.au  to your favourites list on your internet browser, and tune in to emergency broadcasters including ABC local radio, commercial and designated radio stations or Sky News TV for information on emergencies in your local area.