By Gabriella Payne
Winter has well and truly begun, and residents across Melbourne and West and South Gippsland are bracing for some wild weather overnight and into tomorrow, as damaging, high-speed winds are about to blow in.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) issued a severe weather warning on Wednesday 9 June, stating that “damaging winds” with peak gusts reaching up to 110km/h in some areas, are set to hit Victoria.
“Damaging south to south easterly winds, averaging 50 to 60 km/h with peak gusts of 90 km/h, are possible about the coastal fringe and about elevated areas in the west today,” the warning read.
“Damaging winds (with peak gusts to 100km/h) will then extend over central and eastern parts of the warning area during Wednesday afternoon and evening, including the Melbourne metropolitan area.
Winds are likely to average 60 to 70 km/h overnight Wednesday into Thursday about the southern Gippsland coast, Port Phillip and the central and Gippsland ranges, with peak gusts reaching around 110 km/h.”
According to the BOM, this bout of wild weather has been brought about by two different low pressure systems in the southern NSW region, with one of them set to “rapidly deepen near the east Gippsland coast on Wednesday night”.
Pakenham SES spokesperson, Shayne Honey said that their crews were currently waiting on standby to help those in need and he urged all residents to stay safe, especially if driving on the roads.
“We can expect heavy rain, high winds and flooding,” Mr Honey said, adding that he’d read that this was set to be “a one in 15 year event”.
“The difference in our service from 15 years ago to now though is that we’re a lot more proactive than reactive.
We have four members and one vehicle heading up to Gippsland at the moment.
We’re prepared and we’ll be on standby,” he said.
“All the warnings have gone out, everyone is expecting it and hopefully everyone has taken the precautions to ensure they, their livestock and properties remain safe.”
The State Emergency Service advises that people should take care while this weather passes, and have issued a number of recommendations to ensure everyone remains safe.
– If driving conditions are dangerous, safely pull over away from trees, drains, low-lying areas and floodwater. Avoid travel if possible.
– Stay safe by avoiding dangerous hazards, such as floodwater, mud, debris, damaged roads and fallen trees.
– Be aware – heat, fire or recent storms may make trees unstable and more likely to fall when it’s windy or wet.
– Check that loose items, such as outdoor settings, umbrellas and trampolines are safely secured. Move vehicles under cover or away from trees.
– Stay indoors and away from windows.
– If outdoors, move to a safe place indoors. Stay away from trees, drains, gutters, creeks and waterways.
– Stay away from fallen powerlines – always assume they are live.
– Be aware that in fire affected areas, rainfall run-off into waterways may contain debris such as ash, soil, trees and rocks. Heavy rainfall may also
increase the potential for landslides and debris across roads.
– Stay informed: Monitor weather warnings, forecasts and river levels at the Bureau of Meteorology website, and warnings through VicEmergency