Heavy rain soaks Victoria, more to come
Parts of Victoria have just experienced their heaviest rainfalls since the middle of last year, and there's still more on the way.PT0M0S 620 349
More storms are expected to hit Melbourne in the next 24 hours, after a heavy downpour caused traffic chaos on Tuesday morning.
The warning came as the Bureau of Meteorology put several suburbs, including Werribee, Maribyrnong, Yarra, Dandenong - and also Bunyip - on flood alert.
BOM senior meteorologist Phil King said another storm was expected to hit the city late Wednesday morning or early afternoon.
Pedestrians cop a soaking at Docklands. Photo: Penny Stephens
‘‘It’s likely to be east of Melbourne proper but we might pick it up in the outer eastern suburbs,’’ Mr King said.
‘‘It just depends how quickly that change comes through’’.
Between 20 and 30 millimetres of rain is expected to fall on the city, less than than the 40-50mm which fell on Tuesday morning.
Commuters outside Flinders Street station. Photo: Penny Stephens
Train services were suspended for much of Tuesday morning as the city experienced its wettest day in months.
On the Hurstbridge train line, emergency works to fix overhead equipment began about midday. Buses were running between Eltham and Hurstbridge until the works concluded about 1pm, an hour ahead of schedule.
About 11.45am, services on the Upfield and Frankston lines resumed, with train operator Metro warning of minor delays while it caught up with the backlog.
Rain falls over the Bolte Bridge this morning. Photo: Penny Stephens
The Frankston line was suspended between Moorabbin and Mordialloc stations after a person was hit by a train just after 8am. Police are investigating but the death is not believed to be suspicious.
Commuters faced long delays, with some trapped on a train stuck between Cheltenham and Highett stations being rescued by the State Emergency Service.
Tram passengers also face delays of up to 50 minutes because of the heavier traffic on the roads.
Yarra Trams reported delays of 50 minutes for the route 59 tram between the city and Airport West, and 45 minutes on route 24, between the city and North Balwyn, and route 48, between North Balwyn and Kew.
A Yarra Trams spokesman said on Tuesday afternoon all routes were running back to their normal times, however he warned passengers to keep up to date with any possible changes when the afternoon traffic congestion hits.
The Upfield railway line was suspended just before 5am after an equipment fault. A Metro spokeswoman said that when the first train left Upfield station about 4.50am, it became entangled in the overhead power lines, which damaged the lines.
There were also major delays of about half an hour on the Sunbury line after a train broke down at Tottenham station. The train was moved on but delays continued for some time, affecting some V/Line services, as well as Metro trains.
On the Craigieburn line, a vandalism attack delayed each service by 25 minutes, but shortly after 6.15am, the delays were reduced to 15 minutes.
The spokeswoman said that thieves had stolen copper wiring cables between Glenroy and Oak Park stations.
The theft was discovered about 3am, she said, and was causing signalling problems along the line, mostly on outbound services. The delays were mainly between Glenroy and Strathmore stations, she said.
The raft of problems on the rail network was being exacerbated - albeit slightly - by wet weather, with commuters taking longer than normal to board.
Overnight, Ballarat Airport recorded 44 millimetres, while 27mm fell at Mount Macedon and Heathmont and 25mm fell at Avalon and Ringwood.
Between 9am and midday, 15mm fell at Officer, in Melbourne’s outer-east and 11mm fell at Lang Lang.
The highest totals were recorded overnight. In the 24 hours to 9am, much of Melbourne’s eastern suburbs and towns to the north and north-east recorded between 25mm and 49mm. In Trentham, near Woodend, 55mm fell.
Bureau of Meteorology’s senior forecaster Phil King said Tuesday marked the first good rainfall for 2013. Flash-flooding is possible over the next few days.
‘‘We’ve been seeing a few storms along the ranges but they’ve been fairly isolated. This is the first time that the storms have been more widespread, giving a large area of the state really good falls,’’ he said.
The only areas likely to miss out on the rainfall are in the south-west, including the Grampians, where bushfires continue to burn, and the south-east Gippsland coastal areas.
More rain is expected across Melbourne throughout the day, with the Bureau predicting it will ease to scattered showers in the afternoon. Isolated thunderstorms are also expected, but it will be a warm night, with a forecast low of 23.
Leading into and during the morning road peak, there were several collisions which held up traffic, already snarled as motorists dealt with more cars on the road.
Senior Sergeant Ken Smith, from the highway patrol at Corio, said it was important for drivers to check windscreen wipers and tyres before driving in wet weather, and to have them replaced if they were causing problems.
He said that because there had not been rain for long time, roads had a build-up of grease and grime, making them slippery.
‘‘Keep your distance behind other vehicles, look in the rear-vision mirror, and keep your distance in front as well,’’ Senior Sergeant Smith reminded.
‘‘This is a wake-up call now that we’re moving into the wet weather from now. A lot of people turn on their wipers and find that they stick or they aren’t cleaning properly.
‘‘During good weather, people do become complacent: they need to concentrate ... because if something goes wrong in wet weather, you need time to react.’’
Senior Sergeant Smith said that the number of rear-end collisions ‘‘skyrockets’’ in wet weather, and said drivers needed to be patient, because roads often became more congested.
Traffic woes are likely to continue into the night, with the pre-planned closure of a number of exits on the Western Ring Road. The ramps will be closed as part of works to upgrade the M80.
The first of the closures - at the Keilor Park-Calder Freeway interchange - will take place at 7.30pm, with staggered closures elsewhere until 10pm. Most are scheduled to reopen at 5am. Information about specific closures is available on VicRoads’ upgrades page.