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Australia :Severe storms cause havoc in Victoria of Australia

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Laaska News  Nov. 9 ,2011

MELBOURNE, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) — A series of wild storms on Wednesday swept across Australia’s state of Victoria, damaging homes, brought down trees and caused flash flooding.

On Wednesday night, the Bureau of Meteorology issued an updated severe thunderstorm warning for the Melbourne metropolitan area, warning that “destructive winds, very heavy rainfall, flash flooding and large hailstones are likely.”

Melbourne’s southeast has borne the brunt of the storms with East Bentleigh receiving 23 millimeters of rain in just six minutes. Frankston received about 30mm of rain within an hour, while more than 10mm fell in South Oakleigh. The bureau has also reported hailstones of up to 3cm in Ballarat, east of the Melbourne city.

According to the State Emergency Service (SES), around 500 volunteers are working through Wednesday night trying to answer more than 800 calls for help.

SES said most of the calls are related to flash flooding, and there were also around 200 reports of damage to buildings caused by hailstones and heavy rainfall.

It said there were 150 reports of fallen trees, many in towns northwest of Melbourne including Castlemaine, Woodend and Maryborough, while in Wodonga, a number of houses had their roofs ripped off, making two of them uninhabitable. About 13,000 homes are without power across the state.

According to SES spokesman Lachlan Quick, Woodend was one of the worst-hit areas of the state with more than 50 trees falling in the area.

He also said it was the first time a storm had been given that rating in two years.

“Similar to what we saw in March 2009 where we had hundreds of millions, perhaps even a billion dollars of damage to property and vehicles over that period,” he told reporters in Melbourne.

“It looks as if these storms are actually dissipating and weakening as they get across the bay somewhat, but we’re probably in for a series of these over the next couple of hours.”

Quick said the rain was expected to persist in Melbourne until the early hours of Thursday morning

Xinhua.
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