Homes have been damaged by hail and flash flooding in Victoria’s south-west as ferocious storms sweep across the state.
A severe thunderstorm alert issued by the State Emergency Service warned “damaging winds, heavy rain, large hailstones and life-threatening flash flooding” were likely.
Emergency crews were called to 91 jobs over a six-hour window in Warrnambool, including whole houses which had been flooded and some building damage.
Warrnambool has received 47 millimetres of rain since 9:00am Saturday, while Mildura in the north-west received 12mm in the 30 minutes before midday and large hail.
Western Victoria. Been bubbling along all day. The skies turned very grey a short while ago and now it is full throttle thunder, lightning, wind and rain. Reminds me of the storm last Feb which took down local power pylons and half of our trees.
— Lisa Hay (@thehysterian) January 2, 2021
Port Fairy resident Michael Steel said he was driving towards town from his farm nearby when the storm front hit, delivering lightning and torrential rain in a concentrated burst of about 30 minutes.
A massive chunk of icy hail sits on a paddock with a leg and boot next to it for scale.
“There were cars parked on the side of the road that were taking shelter as well,” he said.
“They’d pulled off the Princes Highway and had taken cover under some big trees just on the nature strip to be safe.”
Mr Steel took a photo of a thick slab of ice that appeared to have been created by heavy hail.
“It looked like it was this specific zone of hail that had gone through in a pattern,” he said.
“This patch of hail had come through in like a squall and just come down very, very thickly.”
He said the area around him received 50mm of rain within 50 minutes.
Forecasters are expecting the storms to continue to affect the state into Saturday evening as the weather front moves east.