Trees down, buildings damaged as strong winds expected to persist

Victoria’s bout of bad weather doesn’t seem to be letting up, with damaging winds expected to persist through to Wednesday afternoon.

A severe weather warning was in place for much of the state on Tuesday, with average winds of between 50 and 70km/h and peak gusts of between 90 and 100km/h expected on and south of the divide during the evening.

The wind was expected to let up in some areas before coming back strong on Wednesday morning and afternoon. A change was expected to cross the state then, bringing with it possible gusts of up between 90km/h and 100km/h.

The change was set to move through metropolitan Melbourne on Wednesday afternoon, however winds were forecast to reach a top of 50km/h – not 100km/h – in the city during that time.

The Bureau of Meteorology was warning of “destructive” wind gusts across the eastern ranges above 1500 metres, averaging 70 to 80km/h with peak gusts of 125km/h for Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.

Blizzard conditions were possible on the alpine peaks during the same period.

The bureau expected winds to ease below warning thresholds by early Wednesday evening.

A Victoria SES spokeswoman said Tuesday was a busy night for the emergency service. Between about 3pm and 9pm, it responded to 197 requests for assistance.

Of those calls for assistance, 152 were about trees falling down and 27 were about building damage. Some of the building damage was likely caused by the weather, the spokeswoman said.

As of about 9pm, 84 requests for assistance were still active, and the remaining had been cleared.

The SES spokeswoman said the service’s busiest units in the six hours to 9pm on Tuesday were the Upper Yarra unit and the Emerald Unit, which dealt with 24 and 23 requests for assistance respectively.

The SES Emerald Unit posted photos to its Facebook page, saying it was responding to lots of jobs on Tuesday evening. It urged locals to steer clear of powerlines that were down.

The SES spokeswoman said while Tuesday was busy, it was nothing compared to damaging weather Victoria saw in June – particularly, the storms in the Dandenongs. She warned, though, that Victorians should keep tabs on the weather as winds persisted through Wednesday.

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