Destructive winds, rain, storms and snow warning for central Victoria for the weekend

ICY: Snow could fall on the Macedon Ranges this weekend. This photo was taken at Mount Macedon during a snowfall last August. Picture: MORGAN MCORMOND
ICY: Snow could fall on the Macedon Ranges this weekend. This photo was taken at Mount Macedon during a snowfall last August. Picture: MORGAN MCORMOND

Update, Friday, 1.18pm: 

Northerly winds will continue to strengthen on Friday ahead of a cold front which will reach central Victoria on Friday night.

Towns expected to affected including Maryborough, Daylesford, Castlemaine and Kyneton. 

Sheep graziers are warned that the cold front will bring rain and cold temperatures that will pose a risk to lambs and sheep exposed to the conditions.  

Update, Friday, 6.20am: The Bureau of Meteorology continues to forecast strong winds across parts of Victoria with a weather warning in place.

Destructive winds are expected to affect Central, South West, North Central, West and South Gippsland, Wimmera and parts of East Gippsland, Mallee, Northern Country and North East forecast districts.

Locations which may be affected include Horsham, Warrnambool, Seymour, Maryborough, Ballarat, Geelong and Melbourne. Bendigo is currently just outside the severe weather warning area.

Overnight in Bendigo the average wind speed was around 15km/h with wind gusts reach up to 30km/h between 3.30am and 6.30am.

Northerly winds will strengthen Friday morning ahead of a cold front which will reach southwest Victoria Friday afternoon and central Victoria Friday night. 

The destructive winds are set to average between 80 to 90 km/h with peak gusts in excess of 125 km/h expected in Alpine through Friday afternoon before easing overnight.

The State Emergency Service advises people to move vehicles under cover or away from trees, secure oloose items around your house and keep clear of fallen power lines.

The next severe weather warning update will be at 11am.

Update 9.30pm: THERE MAY have been a few recent severe weather warnings but this one is “next level and should not be taken lightly”, according to a respected online weather tracking group.

Facebook page Macedon Ranges Weather is watching via satellite as an Antarctic vortex rapidly approaches from the Southern Ocean. 

This is the system that is expected to move across the state late Friday.

For the Macedon Ranges this will mean strong winds, including gusts up the Calder Freeway corridor from Kyneton to Sunbury, according to the Facebook page.

Rain will commence late Friday night into Saturday morning, with sleet or snow in some areas.

SES issues warning ahead of 12-hour windstorm

Update 3.15pm: IT IS TIME to prepare your home ahead of a 12-hour windstorm that is expected to hit large parts of the state this evening and tomorrow.

People should put away or tie down loose objects around their properties and make sure pets are safe before the brunt of the bad weather hits, Bendigo SES spokeswoman Natalie Stanway said.

“It’s probably a good idea to make sure they are inside and safe when things may be flying around,” she said.

“Of course, people should also ensure vehicles are not parked under trees. Preferably cars will be parked under shelter if that is available.”

Ms Stanway warned people driving in heavily wooded areas near Bendigo may need to consider driving well below the speed limit as the wind picks up.

Bendigo SES crews are training tonight and will be advised about the strong winds that are expected to hit the state. Picture: PETER WEAVING

Bendigo SES crews are training tonight and will be advised about the strong winds that are expected to hit the state. Picture: PETER WEAVING

She drove through areas near Axe Creek, Sutton Grange and Sedgwick after the most recent storm and was amazed at how many limbs had come down.

“When you are in those conditions you need to drive to them, to be aware of what is going on around you and to be prepared to stop or take evasive action,” Ms Stanway said.

Series of fronts to hit the state over coming days

UPDATE 2.16pm: A WINDSTORM lasting for 12 hours or more is predicted to blast central Victoria from the early hours of Friday.

A series of fronts are due to hit Victoria in the next four days, bringing with them widespread destructive winds, rain and snow falls down to 600m.

While temperatures on Friday are expected to be in the high-teens and low-20s, the spring-like conditions will not last.

Senior forecaster for the Bureau of Meteorology, Stephen King, said winds will increase on Thursday night and “by the time people wake up on Friday morning it will be windy across most of Victoria”.

A severe weather warning has been issued for the state with destructive gusts in Alpine regions expected to hit 130km/h and  90-100km/h in southern and mountain districts.

“It will be from first thing in the morning and be right through most of the day,” Mr King said.

“That’s what’s unusual about this event. It will be for a significant period of time -  for a good 12 hours or so - and also across a really widespread area.”

“Some of the recent events we’ve had have been in fairly isolated coastal and elevated areas, but this time we are expecting fairly widespread damaging winds and over a significant period of time.”

Mr King said there was a chance the strong winds could kick up dust in the Mallee, which could travel across Victoria and into the Melbourne area.

He said temperatures on Friday are expected to be in the low to mid-20s, but they will plunge as another cold front moves through the state on Friday night.

Mr King said a cold front on Friday night and Saturday would bring snow falls down to 800m on Saturday and 600m on Sunday, with Alpine areas set for 20-30mm of snow.

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“There will be quite miserable weather across most of Victoria on Saturday,” Mr King said.

“There will be widespread shower activity through most of the state and possibly hail and thunder with those showers.

“It will bring cold conditions across all of the state, with temperatures in the low teens  … with the wind it will feel much colder than that.”

Maryborough most likely to be affected

Earlier: PREPARE yourselves, central Victorians – it’s set to get windy.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned of damaging northerly winds, which are expected to develop from the west tonight and early tomorrow morning.

Winds are forecast to average 60 – 70km/h, with peak gusts of 90 – 100km/h.

“Peak gusts of this magnitude are likely to become widespread during Friday morning and will persist during the afternoon,” a severe weather warning says.

The bureau has also warned of destructive winds, averaging 80 to 90km/h with peak gusts of more than 125km/h.

Destructive winds are forecast to develop over Alpine areas above 1500 metres on Friday morning and persist during Friday afternoon, before gradually easing overnight.

Maryborough is among the locations likely to be affected.

The severe weather warning applies in the north central, northern country and central forecast districts, as well as the Wimmera, the south west, the north east, and parts of Gippsland.

The State Emergency Service has advised people should: 

  • Move vehicles under cover or away from trees; 
  • Secure or put away loose items around your house, yard and balcony; 
  • Keep clear of fallen power lines.

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