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Victoria weather: State mops up after severe storm causes flash flooding, damages buildings

Wednesday December 20, 2017 - 17:17 EDT
ABC licensed image
The roof was torn off one house at Merbein. - ABC licensed

Homes have been damaged and roads cut off by fallen trees after severe storms in Victoria, leaving tens of thousands of properties without power.

Large hail hit in some areas and there was flash flooding in Melbourne, where 20 millimetres of rain fell in 15 minutes.

Power companies are working to restore power to homes, mostly in the state's north-east, after

The state's north-west and central districts were the hardest hit, with 100 kilometre-per-hour winds bringing down trees and powerlines.

At the height of the storm, 110,000 properties lost power around 9:00pm, according to Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas.

Powercor's Emma Tyner said crews had worked through the night.

"As we watched those storms track through our network yesterday, you could actually see the numbers rise," she told ABC Radio Melbourne.

"We've had significant damage done to a lot of our power poles and wires, and that's obviously affected a significant number of customers."

She said additional resources from less badly affected areas had been deployed to get through the backlog of repairs.

Ten people in the Mildura area needed to find alternative accommodation, while the 27 residents at the Merbein caravan park have been using showers at the local swimming pool after the shower block was damaged.

Roofs blown off, trees down

The State Emergency Service (SES) received 1,800 calls, mostly for tree and building damage.

One home was left uninhabitable and several lost their roofs in Wangaratta, Tatura and Shepparton, the SES reported.

"The main work we've had has been building damage, so either water entering structures, trees down, or roofs pulled off by the winds," the SES's Andrew Fagan said.

He said the SES was still receiving calls this morning from people waking up to find damage from the storm, and SES crews from South Australia have been called in to help in the state's west.

advising that repairs were continuing.

"Victoria SES is warning locals, holiday makers and drivers across the north-east to take care over the next few days after wild storms brought down hundreds of trees and interrupted power supply to many areas," the warning said.

"If safe, check around your property for damage and keep watch for damaged powerlines, rooftop solar panels etcetera that might still be electrically charged."

Landslip in Melbourne's east

The severe weather caused a 40-metre-long landslide to knock out the footpath along Warrigal Road in Surrey Hills in Melbourne's east.

Aidan McGann from VicRoads said some of the road had been taken out by the slip.

"At this stage there doesn't appear to be a risk [or] a threat to neighbouring houses," he said.

"It's definitely fortunate that it's occurred in the evening when we don't have a lot of foot traffic and so on."

He said the focus was on securing essential services and the stability of the site, as gas was leaking in the area.

"It's not a major gas leak at the moment, work is going on to secure that, but that's got to be done safely because the safety of crews here is paramount as well," he said.

The weather bureau's Dean Stewart said winds reached almost 120kph north of Melbourne.

"The highest wind gust in the state was up at Kilmore Gap to the north of Melbourne — 117kph — but a lot of towns reported gusts over 100kph, [followed by] Wangaratta with 113kph, Bendigo 111kph, Mangalore 107kph, Laverton 98kph," he said.

He said while the storm weather was not yet over, the worst was likely behind the state.

"There'll still be some thunderstorm activity in the east this morning," he said.

"At this stage they're not reaching the severe criteria."


© ABC 2017

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