Thursday, March 14, 2013

AUSTRALIAN WEATHER ANOMALIES: Lightning Storms, Flash Floods And High Winds Lash Melbourne Suburbs!

February 22, 2013 - AUSTRALIA - Flash and lashing rain saw homes damaged in Melbourne's north and west as a storm hit the suburbs overnight.

The wild weather flooded a police station, caused a supermarket roof to collapse and grounded flights at Melbourne Airport.

Residents in South Morang and Mernda are cleaning up today after flash flooding hit some homes and streets.

More than 50mm of rain bucketed down in Melbourne's outer north last night in little more than a few hours.

And the Bureau of Meteorology is warning there is a possibility of more storms later this afternoon. 

'I took this photo shortly after 8pm at Melbourne Airport looking towards Sunbury.'  © Aaron Stanley, Taylors Hill.
Sunbury FoodWorks manager Ben Duffy said last night there was ''an extreme bang then the roof went''.

His was one of 130 requests for help the State Emergency Services received since noon yesterday when the thunder and lightning first struck.

Mr Duffy expects the damage bill to exceed $50,000.

"I know people always say this but I have never seen anything like it before," he said.

"I couldn't see three feet in front of me, the car park flooded, water was half way up my car."

The damage caused by the storm in Melbourne has left FoodWorks in Sunbury, a bit worse for wear. 

Lightning strike seen from Doreen. © Aaron Lowe.
Shoppers and staff were evacuated ten minutes before part of the roof fell in.

"We'll be here all night cleaning up, everyone is just getting around like wet rats at the moment," Mr Duffy said.

Sunbury was the worst hit with emergency receiving about 30 pleas for help.

"We had quite a few reports of trees over roads and reports of low-level flooding in homes and residential streets," SES spokesman Lachlan Quick said. 

Lightning can be seen from Westfield Shoppingtown in Doncaster. © James Demetrie.

"There was some flash flooding in the South Morang and Mernda area after about 50mm of rain fell during the storm.

"Thankfully there have been no injuries and no reports of SES crews having to rescue people from flood waters, which means people are not driving through the floods."

Lightning stopped planes from landing and taking off at Melbourne Airport, causing long delays.

Airport spokeswoman Anna Gillett said it was a normal safety procedure because of the wild weather. 

While Epping police station was closed due to storm damage.

Weather Bureau senior meteorologist Phil King said 60mm had fallen in Mernda - 47mm fell in one hour.

"That's above our flash-flood warning of 25-30mm an hour," Mr King said.

Sunbury had 30mm of rain in 20 minutes.

"These storms are producing some really heavy rain that will continue throughout the night."

Melbourne is expected to hit a top of 31C today.

The weekend is expected to bring more settled weather before more storms are predicted for Monday and Tuesday.

The mercury is set to reach a maximum of 33 tomorrow and 32 on Sunday.

Afternoon showers are expected on Sunday.