Storm damage leaves thousands without power as cool change sweeps state

Thousands of Victorians were left without power Wednesday morning and hundreds called for help when thunderstorms and heavy rain lashed the state after Tuesday’s scorching heat.

A severe thunderstorm warning was in place for parts of central Victoria overnight, with a cool change bringing thunder, rain and gusty wind.

Rain delayed play at the Australian Open on Tuesday night.Credit:Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

The State Emergency Services received 237 calls for help in the past 24 hours, according to a spokesman.

Of those call-outs, 178 related to fallen trees blocking roads and driveways while another 35 related to building damage.

The busiest volunteer units were Maroondah, Malvern and Echuca, the SES spokesman said.

Up to 10,000 properties lost power, mostly in north, west and central parts of Victoria because of the wild weather overnight. A Powercor spokesman said Bendigo and Echuca were among the worst hit areas.

In Bendigo up to 1000 homes were still without electricity, while in Echuca up to 200 had no power as of 8.30am.

Warrnambool was another area that struggled without power for hours. Up to 1000 properties lost power there, but most of those had been restored by Wednesday.

Earlier, the Bureau of Meteorology predicted damaging winds and heavy rain could cause flash flooding in some parts of the state as the gusty cool change swept across Victoria.

The temperature in the city dropped from 37.2 degrees at 4.40pm to 22.9 degrees at 8.20pm on Tuesday.

The high temperatures prompted organisers of the Australian Open to activate their extreme heat policy, halting play on outside courts and closing the roof of the main arena.

The hottest areas were in the state’s north-west, with Walpeup in the Mallee recording a maximum of 42.3 degrees at 3.19pm and Mildura nudging 41.5 degrees just after 4pm.

The top temperature expected for Melbourne on Wednesday was much milder – 23 degrees, with showers clearing in the afternoon and evening.

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