Sunday, December 25, 2011

Hail and Thunderstorms cause havoc in Melbourne, Australia - 25th Dec 2011

Hailstones the size of cricket balls, flash-flooding, planes diverted and flights postponed, power lost from homes, major transport delays and a tornado to top things off - that was Christmas Day in Melbourne.

Much of Victoria copped the extremes - from steamy, sultry weather for Christmas lunch to severe storms that left many residents struggling to compare them with anything in memory.

The volunteers who staff the State Emergency Service had little time to digest their lunch when the calls for help started arriving.

Melton, on Melbourne's western fringes, was the first to report hailstones at 3.30pm (AEDT).

Then the skies exploded over greater Melbourne, as lightning strikes, loud cracks of thunder, torrential rain and hailstones hammered the city.

By 9pm the SES had handled more than 2000 calls for assistance, mainly damage caused by hailstones to skylights and windows.

It may be a few days before the damage to motor vehicles can be assessed.

SES spokesman Lachlan Quick said reinforcements from SES branches in the western districts will be drafted in on Monday to help with the huge clean-up in the north and northwest parts of the state.

He said most of the calls concerned smashed windows and skylights. Read More