Severe hailstorms, wild winds, flash flooding, thunderstorms in parts of Australia
Wild winds have given way to flash flooding across Melbourne on Tuesday after damaging winds, hail and rain bucketed down on the city.
Major shopping precincts were evacuated due to building damage while several arterial roads were submerged in floodwater after 30mm of heavy rainfall drenched the city in just an hour.
A massive hailstorm has also pelted the outer eastern suburbs – in Bayswater, Ringwood and Heathmont – and around Kilmore, north of Melbourne, with the weather bureau reporting up to four centimetres of hail since 4.30pm.
The State Emergency Service has been inundated with more than 220 calls for assistance since 3pm.
The worst-affected areas are the city’s inner north, east and south-eastern suburbs.
It’s not snow but hail
Brunswick’s Barkly Square shopping centre was evacuated due to flooding, while several businesses on Sydney Road were forced to close.
Hawthorn, Kew, Thornbury, Carlton, Fitzroy, Heidelberg and Broadmeadows were also hit hard by flash flooding, and there were reports of a roof collapse at a major department store in Camberwell.
Most most calls for assistance have related to building damage, leaking roofs and water blocking drains.
Flash flooding also affecting Glen Waverley and Melbourne’s south-east, according to authorities.
“We are seeing a line of thunderstorms right across the state,” Weather Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Phil King said.
“Storms are at severe levels on our radar.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Mr King said commuters would feel the full force of the wild weather during the evening peak period, with storm activity expected to hammer metropolitan Melbourne until at least 7pm.
“Hail and strong wind gusts are also possible as these storms continue to build in intensity,” he said.
Flooding has also caused delays across the public transport network due to flooded tram and train tracks.
Metro Trains reported major delays in Melbourne’s inner east after a lightning strike damaged tracks and signalling equipment at Camberwell station.
The Alamein line was suspended, and commuters faced 90-minute delays on the Belgrave and Lilydale lines.
Services on the Alamein line have resumed, and delays on the Belgrave and Lilydale lines are reduced to 15 minutes at 9.30 on Tuesday night.
“Crews are currently on site making repairs as quickly as possible,” Metro said at 5.40pm.
“Replacement buses may take time to arrive and major delays are expected.”
Yarra Trams said flash flooding in the inner north had caused tram delays, but most problems have subsided since rainfall has eased.
Route 86 trams are not running between Clifton Hill and Smith Street.
“There is the South Morang train line that people can take as an alternative,” a Yarra Trams spokesman said.
The thunderstorms are stretching from Melbourne to Echuca on the state’s northern border, but the city’s western suburbs and Geelong are being spared the severe conditions.
“In Melbourne, the storm will clear later this evening, but it won’t clear the state until 3am,” Mr King said.
Tuesday’s storms come after an eventful night and early morning – during which damaging gusts overturned sheds, trampolines, powerlines and trees.
Fawkner Beach residents experienced the strongest winds of up to 139km/h on Tuesday, he said, while heavy rain lashed Port Phillip Bay from mid-morning and into the afternoon.