Melbourne soaked as 'mini-tornado' hits Ararat
Melbourne may have been hit with rain and storms overnight, but the north-west town of Ararat was worst hit by the weather front in Victoria.PT1M59S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2w02q 620 349 October 23, 2013
Ararat residents were lucky that the "mini tornado" that cut through the south-west of Victoria did not wreak more havoc, a hardware store owner caught in the storm has said.
Mitre 10 Ararat store owner Simon Jones has lost a roller door, iron from his timber yard roof and has a damaged fence, but he says the damage could have been much worse in the small city.
"It's a fairly narrow area that it has hit – only about 500 metres or a bit more, but there is quite a bit of damage there," Mr Jones said.
The aftermath of Ararat's 'mini tornado'. Photo: Facebook/Bernadine Streeter
"Unfortunately our building is in that narrow area, but it included a football oval. The old change rooms have quite a bit of damage, but if it was all houses there instead it could have been worse," he said.
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No one was injured, but power lines came down and caused a blackout.
Mr Jones, who is not the owner of the hardware store building, said he expected the bill to be in excess of $15,000.
The State Emergency Service received 10 calls in the Ararat area at 7.45pm after the storm hit.
Several homes and sheds were also damaged. The central street of McLellan Street was the worst hit.
Ararat mayor Ian Wilson said some areas were still without power.
"It's a whole range of damage," he told radio station 3AW.
"We've had tiles blown off roofs and a fair bit of fencing has been knocked down."
The Bureau of Meteorology has downgraded its severe weather warning for rain in the south-west district, but still has a warning of severe thunderstorms for Wednesday.
SES spokesman Toby Borella said the service received 100 calls, with 38 from Melbourne. He said the distress calls were not centralised in any particular area.
Viewbank had the most rain overnight, with 23 millimetres falling to 9am. Other areas with high rainfall included Cerberus (21 millimetres), Moorabbin (19 millimetres), Essendon (17 millimetres) and the city (14 millimetres).
The highest wind gust recorded overnight was at Point Wilson with 70 km/h, but Avalon, Fawkner and St Kilda were close behind with between 65 and 63 km/h recorded. The gusts hit at about the same time as Ararat's microburst of weather, 7.45pm.
Bureau forecaster Peter Blake said gales were expected in the Port Phillip district.
"There is quite a deal of wind around," Mr Blake said.
He said showers and rain would continue through the morning, easing after lunch, but a new front was expected to bring more rain at about 10pm, when small hail may also fall.
The bureau forecasts that the first day with a maximum over 20 degrees will be Monday, although isolated showers are still predicted, with a top of 22 degrees.