Power cuts, flooding as storm lashes Victoria

The storm front shown in a satellite image from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
The storm front shown in a satellite image from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Almost 80,000 homes have lost power across Victoria, a collapsing brick wall has struck a woman and storm surges have caused flooding in central Melbourne as wild winds lash the state for a second day.

An intense low pressure system moving across Bass Strait and a strong cold front crossing Victoria have caused damage across the state, with the State Emergency Service (SES) fielding 1768 calls for help between midnight and 1.30pm on Tuesday.

The west coast, including Warrnambool, was hard hit earlier in the day, but 1000 of those calls came from metropolitan Melbourne, especially in the Chelsea and Frankston regions, an SES spokeswoman said.

A storm surge forced parents at a Warrnambool pre-school to pick up their children early, caused the Yarra River to burst its banks at Southbank and washed over a beachside car park at Frankston.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster James Taylor said peak gusts included 122km/h at South Channel Beacon and 113km/h at Fawkner Beacon in Port Phillip Bay, 102km/h at Essendon Airport and 104km/h at Melbourne Airport.

Wind gusts to 100km/h and beyond have been recorded throughout the day along the west coast.

Mr Taylor said gusts will persist up to 90km/h in Melbourne on Tuesday afternoon, with the worst weather now expected along the East Gippsland coast.

The winds cut power to more than 77,000 customers during Tuesday.

The hardest-hit areas included Bacchus Marsh, Werribee, Point Cook, Bendigo, Bundoora, Watsonia North, Monbulk, Hawthorn and the Mornington Peninsula.

A spokesman for Powercor said crews are working to restore all services. "It's important for people to remain calm and understand that our crews are running all over the place to all the outages," he said. "We will get to every outage and we will fix them as soon as we can.

"We have outages from Apollo Bay to Werribee at the moment, with some others in the Wimmera, and we are expecting more up there this afternoon."

A woman was hit by bricks from a collapsing wall at Yarraville, an Ambulance Victoria spokesman said. She was taken to Footscray Hospital in a stable condition.

A partly-built wall collapsed at a townhouse development in Brighton East on Monday, killing 30-year-old Tooradin builder Michael Klanja.

Buses replaced trains on parts of the Lilydale and Belgrave rail lines as fallen trees played havoc in Melbourne's east.

The Frankston line was cut in two places - by a fallen tree at Highett and when part of a boom gate arm broke off and was blown across overhead lines at Carrum.


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