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SES on alert as high winds move into Victoria

Published 16/08/2013

Dangerously high winds will start to hit parts of Victoria’s west as early as this morning, Victoria State Emergency Service (SES) has warned.

The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast that a deep low pressure system will approach Tasmania today, strengthening northwesterly winds across Victoria during Friday and early Saturday.

Wind speeds are likely to average 65km/hr in southern and mountain areas with gusts to 100km/hr. There is a risk that elevated areas near the Grampians will see wind gusts to 110km/hr during the middle of the day and the Greater Melbourne area may experience wind gusts in the range of 100-110 km/hr during Friday evening.

The strongest winds are forecast to develop in elevated areas above 1000m in the north east of the state late Friday and early Saturday with wind gusts forecast to reach up to 120km/hr.

If the winds reach the forecast peaks the resulting damage could be worse than Monday 12 August, when SES received more than 1,100 jobs and more than 800 trees were bought down onto roads, buildings and vehicles. Some buildings lost rooves and windows were blown out of others.

The Bureau has issued a Severe Weather Warning for damaging winds for people in the North East, South West, Central, West and South Gippsland and East Gippsland forecast districts. 

Flood Watches are also current for Glenelg and Hopkins river catchments. Some stream rises have been recorded as a result of recent rainfall with areas of flooding reported around the Portland coast. With forecast rainfall over the coming days further rises are possible in these areas

Tim Wiebsuch, Victoria SES State Controller, is urging Victorians to take simple precautions and monitor the situation closely.

“Our volunteers and staff are on standby across the state and we are monitoring the situation closely,” he said.“In the meantime, there are simple precautions the community can take to defend against damage or injury should the worst happen.

“Simple precautions include checking gutters and downpipes for blockages, securing outdoor furniture and objects such as trampolines and having an emergency plan for your home, family and business.”

“Don’t shelter under a tree during a thunderstorm, and if you can help it don’t park your car under one either- you could be in for a nasty surprise when you return to your vehicle.”

Motorists are advised to drive to conditions with the increased risk of debris such as trees across roads and in turn should expect potential delays during Friday.

People are encouraged to stay informed about the situation by tuning to local emergency broadcasters – including ABC Radio, Sky News and community radio stations – and by visiting ses.vic.gov.au/warnings, twitter.com/vicseswarnings or facebook.com/vicses.

For the latest forecasts and warnings for Victoria go to www.bom.gov.au/vic/warnings