Rain, thunder, snow to blast Victoria

Christine McGinn

Brace yourself, Victoria - winter has come early, with rain, hail, thunder and strong winds expected to blast the state on Thursday.

"Around five to 10 millimetres of rain is expected in the Melbourne area and even the risk of some local hail and thunder given the very cold and unstable air moving across Victoria," Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Michael Efron said on Wednesday.

Melbourne is expected to reach a top of 13C and have a chilly low of 8C.

Mt Hotham and Mt Buller will have a glimpse of the ski season, with snow expected to fall as low as 800m above sea level on Thursday.

"That means places around the Grampians and the ranges near Ballarat even potentially around the Macedon Ranges could see a dusting of snow during Thursday," Mr Efron said.

Gippsland, in the state's east, is forecast to have 30-50mm of rain on Thursday before the drenching continues on Friday, with up to 150mm expected to fall.

Farmers are being warned to shelter their sheep and lambs, which could die if exposed to Thursday's cold conditions.