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Flash flooding, hail and damaging winds hit Melbourne as storms sweep across Victoria

Saturday February 15, 2020 - 08:12 EDT
ABC image
Ringwood, in Melbourne's east, was soaked by a "tropical storm" which hit the Melbourne suburb about 2:30pm. - ABC

Heavy flash flooding has hit parts of Victoria and Melbourne's suburbs, with thunderstorm activity likely to continue throughout Saturday.

The pressure trough, has been slowly moving south, prompting thunderstorm warnings for Victoria.

That warning is in place for parts of East Gippsland, Mallee, Northern Country and North East Forecast Districts.

Some areas which have already been devastated by the recent bushfires may now be impacted by flash flooding.

Authorities say Yarrawonga, Wodonga, Wangaratta, Bright and Falls Creek could all be affected as well as

On Friday, Ringwood Secondary College geography teacher Brendan Ricci said "torrential rain" and hail began to fall from 2:30pm, with water flooding some school buildings during the 50-minute downpour.

"It was like being in the middle of a tropical storm really, because the winds were howling. We certainly had squalls that you could see where the wind was often horizontal," he said.

"It was just extremely heavy rain; it was almost like we were in the middle of a very severe storm cell."

The rain flooded a street next to the college, rising up the sides of the parked cars of teachers and students.

Mr Ricci said the timing made for a "pretty chaotic" end to the school day as students dashed home in the "incredibly intense rain".

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said the Ringwood area had received about 39 millimetres of rain, 23mm of which fell in the space of an hour.

Several private rainfall monitors across suburbs in Melbourne's east such as Ringwood and Bayswater have recorded falls of more than 60mm — which could be due to the highly localised nature of the downpours.

The SES received more than 400 callouts during the storm with the most from Warragul (57) and Ringwood (29).

The majority of the calls were for flooding (166), building damage (123) and downed trees (74).

ABC Radio Melbourne caller Stuart said traffic lights had gone out at some intersections in the area and he had helped move some trees that had fallen across roads.

Senior forecaster Michael Efron said the damaging storms could last until Saturday morning, but would be "hit and miss", leaving damage in some areas while others missed out.

The locality of She Oaks, halfway between Geelong and Ballarat, received 55mm of rain within 40 minutes.

She Oaks resident Bridget Gargan said it was "bucketing" with rain for about an hour, leaving 62mm behind for a community that often missed out when rain passed through.

The suburb of Ferny Creek, in Melbourne's east, has received more than 30mm of rain.

The storms have also brought wind gusts of up to about 100 kilometres per hour to Horsham.

About 28,000 customers were without power at 5:25pm, according to power company websites.


© ABC 2020

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