The severe thunderstorm warning covers East Gippsland and parts of the Central, Mallee, South West, Northern Country, North Central, North East, West and South Gippsland and Wimmera districts. Drivers in the Geelong region have been warned to take caution as they drive, as rain pours on roads. The humid weather in the region has triggered unstable conditions and slow-moving thunderstorms.
The thunderstorm is predicted to dump torrential rain on the city of Geelong, as well as bring severe winds and large hailstones.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) says they have already received some reports of flash flooding at Murrayville in the Mallee region.
Meteorologist Steven McGibbony said: “Some of the storms will be relatively slow-moving so if a storm happens to move directly over you, you could experience upwards of around 30mm of rainfall.
“But with thunderstorms, they do tend to be a bit hit and miss.”
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It was typical for a month’s worth of rain to fall over just a few days during this time of the year, Mr McGibbony said.
Already heavy rain has drenched the area, with – Longerenong near Horsham recording 20mm in 20 minutes, Stawell recording 9mm in 9 minutes and Sheoaks AWS recording 21mm in 23 minutes.
Some parts of the state could see up to 50mm falling “within an hour in some parts”, according to BOM meteorologist Chris Godfred.
The average monthly rainfall for February is around 40mm.
There have been more than 6200 hectares of land burned in the Thomson Catchment Fire on the banks of Melbourne’s largest dam in recent days.
However, the sudden downpour won’t help firefighters tackle the blaze said a Country Fire Authority spokeswoman.
Water Minister Lisa Neville warned that rain could wash bushfire-containment into the reservoir, which could affect drinking water.
Ms Neville told reporters: “Our concern right now, ironically, is if those really big thunderstorms, which saw some 30mm of rain, fell on the catchment, fell on those fires, then we would start to see run-off obviously much earlier than we thought.”
If that happens, drinking water could be taken from the bottom of the dam, not the top, she added.
The State Emergency Service advises that people should:
- Move vehicles under cover or away from trees.
- Secure or put away loose items around your house, yard and balcony.
- Keep clear of fallen power lines.
- Keep clear of creeks and storm drains.
- Don’t drive, ride or walk through flood water.
- Be aware that in fire-affected areas, rainfall run-off into waterways may contain debris such as ash, soil, trees and rocks.
- Be alert that in areas recently affected by fires, heavy rainfall increases the potential for landslides and debris across roads.
- Stay indoors if possible.
- Avoid using the phone during the storm.
- If you are outside, avoid sheltering under trees
- Listen to the radio for storm updates
- Switch off your computer and electrical appliances