Above: Hourly Melbourne
radar from 0340UTC (2.40pm Tuesday) to 1940UTC (6.40am today). During
falls from storms pockmark much of the state, while storms that brought
heavy rain to parts of the Melbourne metro area can be seen
the 0340 (2.40pm),
images. From 0940 to 1140 (8.40 to 10.40), activity appears to be dying
out, but at 1240 (11.40pm Tuesday) a major cell has suddenly appeared
with developing cells to the northwest. The 1340 (12.40am) and 1440 (1.40am)
frames show general southeast development of the storms, but an area
of torrential rain remains anchored over Melbourne's northern and northeastern
suburbs. By 1540 (2.40am), the storm complex has begun to move away over
southeastern suburbs, and by 1740 (4.40am) is starting to weaken as it
moves away over West Gippsland. BoM
Below: More detailed radar images each 10 minutes from
11pm to 5am. BoM
severe storm causes $100m damage in
An unexpected and still unexplained severe storm brought chaos to Melbourne
this morning along with a damage bill likely to exceed $100m.
During Tuesday, storms were widespread through central VIC with radar
showing intense but localised heavy rainfall and likely hail. Three such
or sideswiped the Melbourne metro area during the afternoon and early
evening, with brief high rainfall rates and hail.
A 20-minute hailstorm in the Lilydale/Mooroolbark area brought hail up
to 3cm in diameter causing severe damage, including
to about 350 cars in three car salesyards, as well as widespread damage
to trees, buildings and other vehicles. A second storm in the same area
later in the afternoon brought hail near softball size and caused flooding,
closing Mt Lilydale College. The SES fielded 75 calls from homes and businesses
in Doncaster, Croydon and
by flash flooding.
Away from Melbourne, Newbury, 45km ENE of Ballarat,
reported 2cm hail and flash flooding in the late afternoon, while Kinglake,
50km NE of Melbourne, received 52mm of rain in 80 minutes with hail to
6cm diameter during the evening.
Storms died out as the evening progressed, but a major cell developed
rapidly north of Melbourne in the Craigieburn area soon before midnight,
smaller cells to its west. The time of development is most unusual, and
main cell appears on radar to have moved over Melbourne's northern suburbs
heavy rain and lightning accompanied by what one observer described as "waves
of hail" with hail up to 2.5cm diameter reported at Fairfield. Radio
reports at the time suggested that the heaviest rain was in the Preston
area. The highest official rain measurement was at Viewbank, 8km east
of Preston, which recorded 107.8mm
9am today. Of this, 87mm fell between midnight and 3am and 76.2mm was
recorded between 1.25 and 2.30am. Other heavy short-duration falls included
32.2mm in the hour
to 1.30am at the Bureau's central Melbourne site and 51.6 in 2 hours
at Scoresby, 26km ESE of the CBD. Records for December one-day rainfall
were set at at least three locations: Scoresby 68.0, Mitcham 78.4 and
Preston Reservoir 99.0. Preston's records stretch back 94 years. Other
to the Bureau were 107mm at Merri Creek, Bell Street, 106.6 at Eastern
Golf Club, 104.6 at Banksia Street Heidelberg, 99.8 at an unspecified
point on the Eastern Freeway, 88.4 at Gardiner Creek, 87 at Northcote
and 78.2 at Lower Plenty.
This storm, the worst in Melbourne since 1972, and with rainfall intensity
described by the Bureau of Meteorology as a 1 in 50 to 100 year event, brought
and businesses were flooded and boats were required to rescue people from the
roofs of stranded cars.
- Most of the 60 or 70 stores in the Station Street shopping precinct in
Fairfield were seriously damaged by raging floodwaters. Many will take weeks
to repair. Water up to a metre deep flowed through some shops when stormwater
drains were overwhelmed, the force so great that a butcher's two freezers,
carrying 300-400 kilos of turkeys, were overturned. Darebin City Council
was investigating claims that drains were blocked, while Melbourne Water
pointed out that drainage installed prior to 1975 was designed to deal only
with 1 in 5 year storm falls.
- Damage estimated at $2m was done to the North Balwyn Bowls Club.
- The 600-student Marcellin College in Bulleen was so seriously damaged that
it will be closed until the New Year.
- A nursing home in Fairfield suffered more than $50,000 damage and 80 per
cent of the facility was flooded with 10cm of water. A second nursing home
was also damaged.
- 12 people whose cars were submerged in 1.5m deep water under the Bulleen
Road Bridge on the Eastern Freeway were rescued from the roofs by the Maritime
Response Unit in two boats. Joff Spencer of the Unit told ABC PM, "It's
the first time I've had to put a motor on a boat and go down a freeway and
people in a boat.
- Roads were closed by flooding in Preston, Fairfield, and Templestowe as
well as parts of the Eastern Freeway. Railway lines (unspecified) were also
- A car was carried away by floodwaters at Doncaster.
- Cars were submerged by floodwaters in Lynwood Parade, Lower Templestowe.
The driver of one, a Honda CRV, was trapped when electronically-operated
windows would not open, and rescued with only 30cm of airspace left in the
- Houses were flooded at Essendon, North Fitzroy and Coburg, as was a hotel
- 2,000 telephone faults due to flooding were reported to Telstra by 2pm
- The SES responded to over 1,400 calls for help in Melbourne, Geelong and
on the Mornington Peninsula during the storms, mostly for flooded
homes, collapsed ceilings and fallen trees. About half were from Northcote,
Preston, Fairfield, and northern suburbs of Melbourne.
- There were problems with the
emergency 000 number, with delays as long as 40 minutes in answering, though
less than 30 callers waited more than 10 minutes. Around 7,500 calls were
received in 10 hours to 5am today. A software upgrade on the
system's computers had begun after 8pm Tuesday when the Bureau of Meteorology
evening. When a warning for the early morning storm was issued at 11.38pm,
the system could not be restored in time. Emergency Services Commissioner
Bruce Esplin told ABC Radio "[The event] was unprecedented and by our
analysis of all the data it was five to six times greater than any extreme
- The Insurance Council of Australia said that 25,000 claims had been received
by 5 December.
The Insurance Disaster Response Organisation said on 9 December that the
total of claims received had been $93m, and the final total was expected
to exceed $100m.
The Bureau of Meteorology is preparing a report on the storm.
Australian Sky & Weather
storms across eastern states
Rainfall for the 24 hours to 9am today. BoM
Storms today brought heavy falls
in QLD, NSW and VIC and strong wind gusts in outback SA. Full details
of heavy falls are in downpours below, but some
of the more remarkable totals from afternoon storms were 25.4mm in 12
minutes at Trepell
Airport in NW QLD, 24.6mm in 30 minutes at Mt Baw Baw VIC, 25.4mm in
15 minutes at Cessnock NSW, and 21.0mm in 30 minutes at Holsworthy
in SW Sydney. The western Sydney suburb of Glenmore Park reported 60.8mm
for the 24 hours to 9am Thursday, most of which would have fallen in a
this evening. Some late reports received by the Bureau show that Blaxland
in the Blue Mountains recorded 40mm in 10 minutes and that the 60mm at
Glenmore Park in Sydney's west fell in 30 minutes.
In VIC, the storms produced large hail to 3.5cm diameter west of Yarra
Glen to Melbourne's east and seriously injured a golfer who was struck
lightning at Seymour. Knowsley, 30km ESE of Bendigo, reported 50mm falling
in 45 minutes accompanied by strong winds. Other reports of wild weather
included wind gusts up to 100km/h and flooding at Broadford, 25mm in 30
minutes at Mt Baw Baw with hail to 4cm diameter, and 20mm of rain in 30
minutes at Warrenbayne, 20km SW of Benalla.
In NSW, 5 people were struck
by lightning while walking at the base of the
that developed mid-evening in a deepening trough over the state's northeast
a wind gust of 121km/h at Coober Pedy Airport.
News sources: The Age, ABC, AAP, Herald-Sun, Australian IT, Australian,
Border Mail, Herald Sun, ABC PM