Wild storms leave trail of destruction across Victoria

·3-min read

Chaos unfolded across Victoria as record gale-force winds tore a terrifying trail of destruction, forcing Covid-19 vaccine clinics to close and train services to be suspended.

Dramatic images flooded social media as the intense low-pressure system ripped across the state, with parts of the Surf Coast recording wind gusts not seen in 20 years.

The wild weather unleashed ahead of the first weekend Victorians have been allowed to travel freely through the state for the first time in months. 

Trees were torn from the ground as gale-force winds ripped across Melbourne. Source: Twitter
Trees were torn from the ground as gale-force winds ripped across Melbourne. Source: Twitter

Many of the popular regional areas that Melburnians were planning to visit, such as the Mornington Peninsula, were the hardest hit. 

A man was captured running for cover as a giant wall of water flooded the Port Phillip pier. 

"Mother Earth is angry…quite a way to remember the end of lockdown," the photographer posted to Instagram. 

Storm causes medical mayhem

A medical tent set up outside a Melbourne hospital to cope with an influx of Covid patients almost blew away in the extreme morning blast.

“It's one of those days. At least the ventilation is good. The joys of Emergency Medicine,” emergency physician Stephen Parnis posted to Twitter.

The Victorian government has temporarily closed Covid-19 vaccination clinics and testing sites.

A medical tent outside an emergency department was blown over. Source: Twitter
A medical tent outside an emergency department was blown over. Source: Twitter

Wide-spread trail of destruction 

Residents sought shelter as hazardous debris went flying across the city. 

The garage of a St Kilda apartment building came crashing down and the roof was torn off a Port Melbourne unit block.

A St Kilda apartment block was destroyed in the wild weather. Source: Twitter
A St Kilda apartment block was destroyed in the wild weather. Source: Twitter

The Victoria State Emergency Service received more than 2500 calls for help in the past 24 hours, with about 300 people reporting damage to their properties. 

Traffic turmoil & no trains

A truck flipped on the Craigieburn Bypass while drivers in St Kilda dodged fast-moving corrugated sheeting. 

Countless trees were uprooted, crushing multiple cars, and services on several train lines were also suspended causing long transport delays. 

A truck that flipped on the Craigieburn Bypass on Friday. Source: 3AW
A truck that flipped on the Craigieburn Bypass on Friday. Source: 3AW

Ongoing power outages 

By late morning, the winds began to ease but hundreds of thousands of people are still struggling without power.

The market operator AEMO has warned the damage is so severe that some customers will not have electricity until early next week.

Threat hasn't passed 

A severe weather warning for damaging winds is still current in Gippsland, parts of central and northeast Victoria, along with the Surf Coast and Geelong.

The storm also wreaked havoc in South Australia, leaving more than 30,000 homes and businesses in Adelaide without power. Many homes in Adelaide were damaged by large hailstones on Thursday.

Record breaking wind speeds

Senior Forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology Christie Johnson said several locations recorded their strongest wind gusts in a decade or more, including Viewbank (104km/h), Hopetoun (83km/h) and Ben Nevis (117km/h).

In Bass Strait, Hogan Island clocked wind gusts of 165 km/h, while parts of the Surf Coast recorded October wind speeds not seen in 20 years.

With AAP

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