Victoria Police officers walked more than a kilometre in the dark and wild winds to rescue a woman and her son after a tree fell on their house east of Melbourne on Wednesday night.
The woman was injured and she and her nine-year-old son trapped in their Belgrave home after the branch landed on the roof, causing severe damage, during a night of wild weather across Victoria.
She managed to call triple zero about 11pm on Wednesday and local police, who were also isolated because of fallen trees, trekked into the pair’s property to provide help.
SES personnel cleared nearby roads so officers could get the woman and boy to waiting paramedics.
It came on a night of strong winds and heavy rain, with electricity cut to more than 200,000 Victorian homes and businesses on Thursday.
By 5.30am there had been more than 400 reports of building damage severe enough to need the help of emergency crews.
There were also a further 48 calls to the State Emergency Service for rescues, including from flooded roads.
By 4am, Melbourne’s Moorabbin Airport had recorded wind speeds of 87km/h while, in regional areas the wind blew at well over 100km/h.
The Bureau of Meteorology said the strongest observed wind gusts recorded overnight (before 4.30am) were:
- 124km/h at Hogan Island at 9.06pm
- 119km/h at Puckapunyal at 10.01pm
- 115km/h at Wilsons Promontory at 9.37pm
- 115km/h at Mount William at 10.52pm
- 109km/h at Mount Buller at 6.16pm
- 104km/h at Kilmore Gap at 9.16pm
- 98km/h at Redesdale at 4.08am
The weather bureau said gusts over Melbourne were expected to reach up to 120km/h until about 7am. Strong gusts would continue until at least mid-morning on Thursday, it said.
SES Victoria had responded to more than 3300 requests for help in the past 24 hours, a spokeswoman told The New Daily about 6am.
More than 2600 people phoned about trees brought down by the wild weather. A further 400 calls were about building damage and 142 were for flood damage.
More than 200,000 properties across Victoria were left without power overnight, the spokeswoman said.
In Melbourne alone, about 33,000 people still had no power on Thursday morning.
There is a severe weather warning for heavy rainfall in west and south Gippsland.
Melbourne, Bendigo, Seymour, Maryborough, Ballarat, Geelong and Traralgon might also be affected.
A moderate flood warning has been issued for Mitchell River downstream of Glenaladale, in east Gippsland.
Minor flooding is expected to develop from Thursday morning, with the Mitchell River in Gippsland likely to rise further late in the day.
In the 24 hours to 5pm Wednesday, the catchment had up to 20 millimetres of rain.