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Severe thunderstorm hits Victoria, leaving 100 000 homes without power

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A quick-moving severe thunderstorm accompanied by destructive, golf-sized hail and strong winds hit Victoria, Australia on Tuesday, December 19, 2017, leaving 100 000 homes without power.

The Victoria office of Bureau of Meteorology said an extraordinary amount of lightning was detected across Victoria, extending from the Mallee to Gippsland as the storm swept through the region. Up to 20 mm (0.8 inches) of rain was reported in Melbourne within 15 minutes, causing flash flooding. 

The highest wind gust was reported at Kilmore Gap, north of Melbourne at 117 km/h (73 mph), followed by 113 km/h (70 mph) at Wangaratta, 111 km/h (69 mph) at Bendigo, 107 km/h (66 mph) at Mangalore and 98 km/h (61 mph) at Laverton, BOM's Dean Stewart said, as reported by the Weatherzone.

The State Emergency Service (SES) received 1 700 calls for assistance, the majority for downed trees and building damage caused by strong winds.

A landslide caused the closure of Warrigal Road in both directions between Canterbury Rd & Riversdale Rd. Motorists should use Highfield Rd, Elgar Rd, Station St or Middleborough Rd as alternative routes, SES advised.

Warrigal Road landslide, Victoria, Australia - December 19, 2017

Warrigal Road landslide, Victoria, Australia – December 19, 2017. Credit: Victoria SES

Golf-ball sized hail reportedly damaged up to 180 in a car yard in Knox.

The temperature dropped 12 °C (21.6 °F) in just 10 minutes as the storm hit the city, from 36 °C (96.8 °F) to 24 °C (75.2 °F).

As of Wednesday morning (local time), more than 30 000 homes are still without power, down from about 100 000.

Featured image: Warrigal Road landslide, Victoria, Australia – December 19, 2017. Credit: Victoria SES

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