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Good Friday Gusts

Published 10/04/2012

SES volunteers answered over 900 calls for help over the Easter break after damaging winds blew through on Good Friday.

Melbourne’s bayside suburbs were hardest hit, with a vast majority of requests for assistance (RFAs) coming from these areas between 8pm and 11pm, Friday April 6.

Coastal areas in the southwest and the Latrobe Valley in Gippsland were also affected. SES volunteers were kept busy on Saturday morning, between 8am and noon, as the front passed through Gippsland and people woke to discover damage inflicted the previous night.

Friday’s storm front had been preceded by northerly winds averaging 40-60 kilometres per hour, which turned westerly but maintained their speed behind the front, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Wind gusts of 90-100km/h were experienced across much of the State’s south – particularly coastal areas – as the change moved through. A line of thunderstorms also developed in the south, bringing gusts of more than 100km/h.

In the State’s north, blowing dust reduced visibility below 5 kilometres at Mildura for over five hours.

Areas that experienced the fastest gusts of wind were St Kilda and Latrobe Valley: 89km/h, Airey’s Inlet 109km/h, Port Phillip Bay 115km/h, Wilsons Prom 131km/h

Trees that were blown down over roads or onto structures accounted for 75 per cent of damage caused, with 21 per cent relating to minor building damage such as tiles of sheeting iron being dislodged. No reports of significant property damage were reported due to the storm, nor was there any requirement to relocate any residents.

The busiest areas were:

  • Metro Melbourne: More than 620 RFAs. The busiest SES units were Frankston (85 RFAs), Hastings (63), Sorrento (61), Pakenham (49), Narre Warren (45), Moorabin (41) and Chelsea (34)
  • South West: More than 130 RFAs. Busiest units: Greater Geelong (56), Warnambool (23) and Portland (13)
  • Gippsland: More than 110 RFAs. Busiest units: Warragul (28), Morwell (13) and Loch Sport (13).

The event provides a timely reminder to secure loose objects around homes, not camp under trees and to stay away from fallen powerlines.