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(Aus) Wild Wednesday.


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From the Herald sun:


Bureau warns of storm damage as front approaches Melbourne


Wayne Flower, Amelia Harris From: AAP, Herald Sun August 11, 2010 6:54AM 65 comments


UPDATE 3.34pm: AUTHORITIES have warned wild weather is heading for Melbourne, after a tornado struck in the north.


Weather bureau senior forecaster Kevin Parkyn said this afternoon that the storm would be Melbourne's most significant weather event since March's hailstorm, which caused thousands of dollars of damage.


Unlike that storm, wind and rain are likely to be the major cause of damage, he said.


''It's forecast to move over Melbourne tonight, that's why we're quite concerned about the Melbourne area over the next 12 hours,'' he said.


Mr Parkyn said up to 50mm of rain could fall in Melbourne overnight, with wind gusts reaching up to 110kmh.


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''If we see this belt of strong winds we're likely to see limbs from trees being broken and perhaps even minor damage to property,'' he said.


Victoria's west, which has copped the brunt of the storm today, has had as much rain today as it gets in a month, Mr Parkyn said.


''There have been some locations that have recorded significent amounts. The Otways have had over 100mm so far,'' he said.


SES State duty officer Tim Wiebusch said more than 5000 volunteers were on alert.


They have already been kept busy today with more than 120 requests for help in Victoria's west.


Mr Wiebusch said volunteers expect to be kept busy overnight.


''Drought has seen some of the trees already weakened and when you soften up the soil with the rainfall we've had, mix it with the strong winds we're going to experience, we will see trees coming down and particularly with anything over 100kmh is where we see that damage starting to occur,'' he said.


Meantime, Metro spokesman Chris Whitefield said buses were on standby at several locations and extra staff had been deployed at Footscray, North Melbourne, Clifton Hill, Camberwell, Richmond, South Yarra and Caulfield to provide information and assistance to passengers if weather disrupted any services.


The wild weather should pass by early tomorrow.


There has already been reports of flash flooding and landslides in the Western District.


The west and southwest of the state have been most affected, with towns such as Colac and Camperdown lashed by wind and rain.


The Bureau of Meteorology's latest warnings come after what appeared to be a tornado lashed the Victoria/NSW border yesterday, ripping the roof off a house and uprooting a tree in Moama.


Off-duty policeman Allan Foskett said he had never heard anything like it, as he feared the the tornado would hit his house in Moama.


"It sounded a bit like a jet,'' Leading Snr-Constable Foskett, from Echuca police, said.


"You have seen the twisters on the telly in America, this is what it was like.''


Leading Sen-Constable Foskett said the tornado hit about a kilometre from his house, leaving a trial of debris in the air and on the ground.


SES spokesman Lachlan Quick has urged people not to drive or walk through flood water.


Port Fairy, in Victoria's west, has recorded 67mm of rain since late yesterday.


"That's a substantial amount of rain in short period of time,'' Mr Quick said.


"As a result, we've seen some flash flooding in Port Fairy and a minor landslip at Skenes Creek.


Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Scott Williams said severe weather was expected to hit Melbourne later this evening.


"Late today and tonight both the stronger winds and rainbelt will push eastwards and will hit the city,'' Mr Williams said.


"It will take a bit longer to hit Melbourne than we first thought, but it's still a severe warning," he said.


Resident Mark Langenbacher says his street, Lignum Rd, was one of the worst hit by the tornado.


"I heard this sound like a jet engine and looked out the window and saw this giant whirly-whirly in the trees,'' Mr Langenbacher, 52, told AAP.


"I went out to look at it and it started coming towards me and I rushed inside, but I could barely close the front door the wind was so strong.''


From inside his house he saw a giant oak tree demolished, the neighbour's pine tree ripped out and their backyard trampoline thrown across the road.


"After it passed I went outside and saw some tin roof on the ground and when I looked up at my roof it was gone,'' Mr Langenbacher said.


"The whole thing was quite bizarre.''


The tornado was preceded by two hours of heavy hail.


with Shannon Deery







It's going to be a very intresting night here in Melbourne.

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