Thunderstorms and strong winds are expected to lash Victoria and other parts of south-eastern Australia on Saturday, with authorities urging people to re-think outdoor plans.
Victoria will be the worst-hit state, with rain and damaging north to north-westerly winds with peak gusts up to 110 km/h forecast to hit most of the state, including Melbourne and major regional centres.
Weather bureau senior meteorologist Diana Eadie said the wind would pick up early on Saturday in western Victoria, reaching Melbourne by early afternoon.
There’ll be a strong northerly wind in the early afternoon, followed by a second burst of strong gusts with a westerly wind change later in the day.
But the wild weather won’t be confined entirely to Victoria. The Bureau of Meteorology has also issued wind warnings for the NSW south coast on Friday and Saturday, and gale and strong wind warnings for Tasmania for the same days.
State Emergency Service deputy chief officer Alistair Drayton said cautioned those setting up outdoor dining areas to secure umbrellas and outdoor furniture, saying they could become airborne and dangerous.
The SES also wants people to move to safe areas if outside, and steer clear of powerlines, floodwater, debris and fallen trees.
“Tragically [this] year we saw three people killed due to falling trees and branches and that’s something we definitely wish to avoid again,” Mr Drayton said on Friday.
He said it was atypical weather for early December and urged Victorians to think about their environment.
“Don’t pitch tents,” Mr Drayton said.
Ms Eadie said the weather would also bring a moderate risk of thunderstorm asthma.
Strong winds in the state’s west would also mean there would be severe fire danger in the Wimmera and Mallee areas.
“Sunday is going to feel like a strong change with a burst of much colder air,” Ms Eadie said.
Temperatures will continue to drop on Monday – which even bring some snow in alpine areas, she said.
The SES is preparing for more frequent wild weather events over the summer.
“In the recently declared La Niña event, we are expecting higher rainfalls and thunderstorm activities, so for the coming months this is something we will see regularly,” Mr Drayton said.