“We all panicked because it could have been really bad. It could have been a fatality, ”he said.
Hailstones with a diameter larger than a 20 ¢ coin were seen in Melbourne’s inner east on Friday afternoon, while Springvale recorded 35 millimeters of rain in 30 minutes.
The front is expected to travel east on Friday afternoon, drenching Gippsland’s south-west.
BOM duty forecaster Miriam Bradbury said Melbourne would experience rain and thunderstorms late into the evening.
“Large parts of Victoria are still very much the hotspot for storms,” she said on Friday afternoon.
We are gradually seeing a little bit of easing of storms in the south-west behind the trough, but it’s still definitely very active at the moment.
“The metro area may see heavy to intense rainfall out of these storms, which could produce flash flooding, a lot of damaging winds and possibly also large hail as well.”
The State Emergency Service said it had received over 1600 calls for help from across the state between 9am and 5pm on Friday, including over 900 in western Victoria and another 650 in Melbourne.
The SES said 1100 jobs had been cleared and about 480 active jobs remained outstanding.
Around 13,500 Powercor customers were still without power at 5pm on Friday, while another 3,500 households connected to United Energy in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs could not access the grid. More than 6000 AusNet customers had their supply affected due to Friday’s storm.
Hailstones came down on the rooftops of Melbourne’s inner north – including in Collingwood and Fitzroy North – around 2.30pm on Friday.
Boonah, north of Lorne and inland from Victoria’s surf coast, received 70 millimeters of rain in three hours, while areas west of Werribee were hit with 45 millimeters of rain in under an hour.
Ms Bradbury said much of Victoria could expect storms to ease overnight, with the trough which carried the storm activity moving towards the state’s east.
With an overnight low of 18 degrees and a top of 25 expected on Saturday, she said the cool change would be “short-lived”.
“In the city the temperature began to drop just after 1.30pm from 27.7 degrees, and by 2pm the temperature was 22 degrees,” she said.
“The air behind the trough is not that cold, and it will be a brief break with a maximum of 28 on Sunday. We can expect a proper cold front to come through on Tuesday. ”
Staff at the Butcher’s Club at Chadstone shopping center said loading bays were flooded underneath the complex in Melbourne’s east.
“I was just packing up the van ready to leave and there was a downpour,” manager Dave told BC Melbourne’s Drive.
“There’s a fair bit of drainage in there so it did not last too long.”
A spokesperson for Vicinity, the company that operates the shopping center, told The Age isolated parts of the center had been impacted by storm water.
The current storm warning comes after a massive storm front tore through the state on Thursday, bringing flash flooding to communities from Mildura to Geelong.
More than 4,000 houses across the state remained without power on Friday afternoon, down from 20,000 on Thursday night, as crews began the clean-up process.
Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula bore the brunt of the storm on Thursday night with torrential rain causing widespread flooding in the area.
Barwon Health confirmed several patients had sought treatment with head injuries and limb wounds from flying debris in the storm.
Greater Geelong Council received hundreds of calls from residents seeking help with flooding, drainage issues, building damage and fallen trees.
Deputy mayor Trent Sullivan said several children’s centers experienced minor flooding while a power outage forced the closure of the Lara Aquatic Center.
Geelong resident Peter Mitchell said the rain gauge in his backyard showed he received 30 millimeters of rain in 20 minutes on Thursday. “It was like standing in a shower,” he said.
Mr Mitchell said on Friday some roads had been covered with water and he’d heard heavy rain had leaked into some houses.
Nearby in the Geelong suburb of Highton Nick Rance was bracing for another downpour on Friday after losing power for several hours the day before.
He said roads were flooded in his neighborhood and a nearby bus stop was also covered with water.
Mr Rance was preparing to lay down towels against the doors of his home on Friday to protect against the rain after doing the same thing on Thursday.
“We had about 20 towels at each door,” he said.
On Friday Surf Coast Shire councilor Gary Allen, who is based in Lorne, said loud thunderclaps and heavy rain began about 9am sending people into cafes and shops for cover.
“We’ve had continuous storms for most of the day,” he said.
Although it had been wet, Cr Allen said he was unaware of any flooding or large trees coming down.
Emergency services said the downpour had inundated ambulance depots and police stations and caused the roof of a 10-pin bowling center to collapse. No one was injured in the incident.
State Emergency Services commander Jackson Bell told Melbourne radio station 3AW crews received 300 calls for assistance and rescued 19 drivers trapped in their cars in the area overnight.
“It was quite a significant event last night in Geelong, and we are planning for similar conditions this afternoon,” Mr Bell said.
“It’s probably going to kick off around lunchtime and move eastward throughout the day, so we’re starting to put planning preparations in place to make sure we can respond accordingly.”
Since thunderstorms first hit north-eastern Victoria on Wednesday evening, SES volunteers have responded to 900 calls for assistance, including 100 in Mildura.
Most call-outs related to flooding, building damage and fallen trees.
Images shared on social media showed floodwater up to the bumpers of cars parked in the southern suburb of Belmont and parts of Geelong’s Shannon Avenue underwater.
Residents in Geelong West reported rushing to move their cars to higher ground to avoid getting caught in floodwaters as the cloudburst happened after 8pm.
Weather stations in Geelong recorded falls of 38 millimeters in an hour, while the suburb of Moolap was drenched with almost 29 millimeters of rain in 30 minutes.
Emergency services issued a watch and act alert for the state’s western and central regions and parts of metropolitan Melbourne just before 8pm on Thursday, amid fears thunderstorms across those areas could produce destructive winds and large hail through the evening.
A watch and act alert for flash flooding was also issued for Geelong about 9.20pm, urging people to stay indoors. Geelong Racecourse recorded nearly 39 millimeters of rain between about 7pm and 9pm.
Swan Hill, in the state’s north, was lashed with gusts of up to 133 kilometers per hour about 4.45pm on Thursday, with gusts of 139 kilometers per hour recorded in Horsham 20 minutes later.
Mildura, in the state’s north-west, recorded 80 millimeters of rain in the 24 hours to Thursday morning, with 69 millimeters falling in just two hours, after thunderstorms developed near the border of South Australia and Victoria on Wednesday night.
The weather bureau said this made Thursday the wettest January day on record for the city.
The thunderstorms are the result of high levels of moisture in the air created by a tropical air mass from northern Australia, which has brought muggy weather conditions to Melbourne more akin to those in far north Queensland than Victoria.
With Cassandra Morgan
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