Strong winds and thunderstorms bringing heavy rainfall to Victoria have prompted multiple weather warnings as a cold front bears down on the state.
- The front is expected to pass through Melbourne during the early hours of Wednesday morning
- Destructive winds may occur across large parts of Victoria
- The SES is urging people to prepare their homes and take extra caution on the roads
The front is forecast to enter the state’s west later this evening and continue traveling east through Wednesday, bringing showers, thunderstorms and powerful north-westerly winds.
The State Emergency Service (SES) said the weather system “could be the most significant cold front of the winter” and urged residents to prepare early and remain wary of the risk falling trees posed.
Watch and Act alerts warning residents to prepare and take shelter indoors have been issued for areas including Central Highlands, Dandenong and the Great Dividing Range, as well as the Grampians in the state’s west.
Severe weather warnings of destructive winds have been issued for the Central, South West and North Central districts, and for parts of the East Gippsland, North East, West, South Gippsland and Wimmera districts.
The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast winds averaging 65 kilometers per hour, with likes of up to 100 kph in some elevated areas.
Winds described as “locally destructive” reaching up to 130 kph are predicted over Alpine peaks from early Wednesday morning.
Possible flooding in state’s north-east
Senior meteorologist Kevin Parkin said the wind was of most concern.
“When we talk about wind likes 90 to 100 kph, that’s capable of breaking branches off trees and also capable of pushing over weakened trees as well,” he said.
He said the peak of the tastes was expected to move through Melbourne between midnight and 4am.
“For many people through central parts, when you wake up on Wednesday morning, be wary of widespread vegetation that may have been stripped from trees across roads,” Mr Parkin said.
“From sunrise onwards, the risk really is in the eastern part of the state and it will continue there for much of the day.”
There are concerns heavy rain could cause flooding in some north-east Victorian catchments.
Mr Parkin said it was going to be a “windy week” and severe weather warnings would likely continue cropping up until a change forecast to move into the state from the south this weekend.
SES chief officer of operations, Tim Wiebusch, urged Victorians to tune into messages from emergency services over the next 24 hours to 48 hours.
He said motorists on the road tonight should be extra vigilant about the risk of debris such as fallen trees, branches and powerlines.
“We can’t stress enough that if you do come across floodwaters, do not attempt to drive through floodwaters,” he said.
“It may be the last decision you make.”
Mr Wiebusch said people should prepare for localized power and internet outages and secure loose items around their homes, such as outdoor furniture and trampolines.
Meanwhile WorkSafe issued a reminder for managers to ensure workplaces are prepared for the wild weather.
“Strong winds can turn unsecured objects into dangerous projectiles, including partly completed structures, roof sheets, scaffold plans, temporary fencing, and unsecured tools,” health and safety executive director Narelle Beer said.
“Loose objects must be removed or suitably secured so that they don’t blow away and become a danger to workers and the general public.”