Weather News

Winter storm set to bring high winds, rain, possible flooding to Victoria

By ABC weather presenter Paul Higgins, Wednesday June 9, 2021 - 01:19 EST
ABC image
Storm clouds hang over Port Phillip on Tuesday ahead of the first major winter storm of 2021. - ABC

It's the first winter storm of 2021 and it's going to be a big one.


Already temperatures have plummeted, and snow has fallen in places that rarely see the white stuff, such as South Australia's Flinders Ranges.


On Monday night, strong northerly winds resulted in 177 requests for help from the SES.


While Melburnians in lockdown can hibernate at home during the expected chilly, wet and windy conditions on Wednesday and Thursday, people in other parts of Victoria could face life-threatening conditions.


Flash flooding, downed trees, power outages and difficult driving conditions are among the challenges ahead.


A complex low-pressure system will quickly deepen off the south coast of New South Wales later on Wednesday to become an east coast low.


Strong to damaging south to south-easterly winds will wrap around that low.


Heavy rain, damaging to destructive winds forecast


Gippsland and parts of north-eastern Victoria are in the bullseye.


Melbourne will be on the edge of the worst weather.


At this stage, showers will develop late on Tuesday and continue into Wednesday when 15 to 25 millimetres of rain is likely.


The rainfall will be greater in the outer-eastern suburbs.


Yarra Glen is set to receive 20 to 35 millimetres.


Damaging to destructive winds are on the way too.


Over Melbourne, it will be breezy, with southerly winds gusting to 60 kilometres per hour from Wednesday lunchtime into Thursday.


That will make it feel even chillier than the forecast 13 degrees Celsius.


Elsewhere, there is already a warning of damaging southerlies peaking at 90 to 100kph for Victoria's south-west coastal fringe and the Grampians.


Portland, Warrnambool and Apollo Bay are among places that could be affected on Wednesday.


Widespread tree damage likely to impact roads


Severe weather warnings will likely be issued for eastern Victoria later in the day.  


The Bureau of Meteorology's (BOM) emergency services meteorologist Kevin Parkyn said damaging winds would intensify on Wednesday night, potentially reaching a destructive force of over 125kph.


"It's that overnight period Wednesday night into Thursday we're quite concerned about, even in the Melbourne area where we could see damaging gusts, with a particular concern about the Central Highlands, including the Yarra Ranges and Dandenong Ranges," he said.


"The combination of saturated soils, a water-laden canopy and damaging wind gusts suggest widespread vegetation damage that will impact roads and potentially impact people's safety on those roads".


And it's not just the wind.


Major flooding also possible


Heavy rain is likely over Gippsland and parts of the north-east, with 60 to 100 millimetres predicted over the lower parts of the region.


But in elevated areas, 200 millimetres is not out of the question.


That would mean a lot of water falling into the headwaters of the rivers in a short period over catchments that are already well saturated.


An initial flood watch has been posted for Gippsland, and parts of the north-east.


Minor to moderate flooding is expected across West Gippsland and the Mitchell River catchment from late Wednesday evening.


The BOM also warned major flooding was possible.


Of particular concern are the Latrobe, Thomson, Macalister and Avon Rivers.


SES chief officer of operations Tim Wiebusch said the last time there was an event like this in Gippsland was in 2012.


He reminded people the number one killer during flooding was people driving into floodwaters.


"It only takes 15 centimetres of floodwater for a small vehicle to float," he said.


Snow for the start of the ski season


The Queen's Birthday long weekend in some states also marks the beginning of the ski season.


And the icy blast will see snow falling down to 900 metres' elevation.


There could be 30 to 60 centimetres of fresh snow on the ground for enthusiastic skiers keen to get back on the slopes after last year's season was pretty much wiped out.







- ABC

© ABC 2021

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