MEDIA RELEASE: VICSES volunteers work through the night

MEDIA RELEASE: VICSES volunteers work through the night

28/7/21, 6:04 am

Over the last 24 hours (To 10:00am Wednesday), Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) volunteers have received more than 650 calls for assistance across the state.

Of those calls, 540 are for fallen trees and over 60 for building damage.

Top wind speeds of 122 km/h at Mt Hotham, 119 km/h at Mt Buller, 105 km/h at Mt William and 91 km/hr at St Kilda Harbour have been recorded overnight.

Damaging winds averaging 40 to 60 km/h with peak gusts of 90 to 100 km/hr are possible throughout the warning area throughout Wednesday, mainly associated with the wind change, but also possible with showers and thunderstorms.

Damaging northerly winds, averaging 50 to 70 km/h with peak gusts of 90 to 100 km/h, are still expected about elevated parts of Victoria (above 600m) throughout the day with gusty showers and thunderstorms also likely.

The change will move through the Melbourne metropolitan area during Wednesday afternoon.

Widespread strong winds have affected various units across the state, with VICSES Emerald Unit volunteers the busiest, responding to over 85 calls for help.

Other units kept busy throughout the night include:

  • VICSES Emerald Unit (85)
  • VICSES Upper Yarra Unit (59)
  • VICSES Pakenham Unit (35)
  • VICSES Frankston Unit (32)

VICSES thanks the community for their patience as our volunteers continue to respond to requests for assistance, working through them as quickly as possible with 100 calls for help remaining outstanding this morning.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe weather warning for damaging winds in most parts of the state today, with three minor flood warnings also in place for the Barwon River, Kiewa River and the Ovens and King River. For more information on warnings, www.bom.gov.au/vic/warnings/.

As the Victorian lockdown eases, VICSES is asking communities to avoid areas that have been recently affected by storms. Ensure to follow current Chief Health Officer directions as restrictions ease and the forecast of wet and windy weather continues throughout the day.

Ensure you consider your need to travel and watch out for large trees as recent wet and windy weather may have destabilised trees or branches, making them more likely to fall.

Ensure to download the VicEmergency app for warning and advice messaging, and check the VicTraffic mobile app or website before travelling for updates on road closures, hazards and to consider alternative journeys.

A reminder if you need VICSES emergency assistance, ring 132 500 or Triple-zero (000) in a life-threatening emergency.

Quotes attributable to State Agency Commander, Alistair Drayton

“Our volunteers have had a busy night, with several units responding to calls for help for trees over their homes or vehicles. Please ensure you remain vigilant, and stay away from large trees as they can fall without warning”.

“With further gusty and strong winds expected across most of the state today, the Bureau of Meteorology has issued severe weather warning, please follow the advice of emergency services and avoid any unnecessary travel to storm affected areas”.

“Please keep up to date with relevant emergency information by visiting the VicEmergency website, or by downloading the VicEmergency app. And ensure to call 132 500 for any VICSES assistance required”.