Melburnians are in for a chilly end to the week with the mercury set to plummet to one of our coldest winter days on Friday.
This comes after a day of wild and destructive winds around the state on Thursday, which left buildings damaged, thousands of homes without power, trees down, roads closed and train lines blocked.
While the temperature hit 19.5 on Thursday afternoon, it dropped 10 degrees in an hour when a cold front came through around 3pm.
Melburnians can expect another wet day ahead and a buffeting from icy winds. Photo: Joe Armao
Bureau of Meterology duty forecaster Rod Dickson said Melburnians would get some respite from the high winds, which have since died down.
“The temperature in the city is now nine degrees,” he said at 4.30pm on Thursday. “It was 19.5 earlier, very warm for July.”
Ironically, while bureau records show Thursday was the warmest July 31 on record, Friday is expected to be one of the coldest day's of the winter with a chilly maximum of 11 degrees.
High winds and icy-cold rain in Melbourne
Rain and high winds hit Melbourne. Photo: Angela Wylie
This year’s coldest day was June 29 when the temperature reached just 11.3 degrees.
Rain is forecast for Friday, with potential hail and thunderstorms on the cards. Snowfall is also forecast for altitudes above 500 metres in the Dandenongs, Kinglake and Mount Macedon.
Commuters had an icy trip home on Thursday evening with rain falling into the evening and icy temperatures.
Metro reported the Lilydale line was suspended between Ringwood and Mooroolbark about 3.30pm after a tree fell across overhead wires and the rail tracks in the Ringwood East area.
Replacement buses are in operation and delays expected.
Ringwood - Mooroolbark line suspended - First picture of damage with tree across rail lines. pic.twitter.com/WRsgzGwxaW— Metro Trains (@metrotrains) July 31, 2014
High winds pummelled the state earlier on Thursday causing widespread damage, power outages, train cancellations and trees down.
Thousands of Victorians are without power and the State Emergency Service has received around 1500 calls for help since midnight, as high winds brought down trees, closed roads and damaged homes.
The powerful wind forced the popular Healesville Sanctuary to close its doors over concerns for visitor and animal safety.
Across the Bass Strait, a person was killed in Launceston, northern Tasmania, when they were hit by a falling tree about 12.30pm.
Details have not yet been released by Tasmania Police.
Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Gary Missen said gusts of more than 100km/h had been recorded in the area surrounding Melbourne.
By 2pm, Kilmore Gap had recorded gusts of 122km/h, South Channel Island recorded 104km/h and Melbourne Airport had received blasts of 89km/h, Mr Missen said.
SP AusNet spokeswoman Sarah Ward said about 20,000 customers had lost power, mostly in the east-Victorian towns of Moe and Traralgon and as close to Melbourne as Belgrave.
At one stage on Thursday, 11,000 properties were without power west of Melbourne, Powercor spokesman Lyall Johnson said.
Mr Johnson said outages had affected Laverton, South Geelong, Colac and Apollo Bay.
But by 7pm power had been restored to all but 2392 of the homes relying on Powercor for electricity.
Winds and falling trees had caused significant damage across Victoria by midday, forcing roads and train lines to be closed.
State Emergency Services spokeswoman Kathryn Gould said a large gumtree had fallen onto a house in Grand Ridge Road, in Mirboo North, in Gippsland.
“Most of those were in the metro area, and were mainly for trees down and minor building damage,” Ms Gould said.
A tree also fell and damaged 10 cars in the car park of a Coles supermarket in Bayswater, she said.
No one was injured in either incident, she said.
A number of roads, mostly in the state’s east, were closed or partly closed due to fallen trees.
Parts of a roof became airborne in Clayton, in Melbourne’s south-east, landing on a busy intersection about 11.30am.
A VicRoads spokeswoman said the debris had fallen near the intersection of Clayton and Carinish roads, causing heavy delays in the southbound lane.
Horse racing in Sale, Gippsland, has been abandoned due to the wind.
A severe weather warning has been issued for most of the state, with damaging winds predicted to hit the Dandenongs, Macedon and Alpine ranges, Ballarat, the Grampians, Mornington, Bellarine, and the Surf and Bass coasts.
Low temperatures are expected to continue through the weekend, but winds are forecast to be light on Saturday and Sunday.
El Nino-like conditions have persisted for much of this year, favouring warmer than average temperatures over southern and eastern Australia and drier conditions across much of the east.
But the bureau said on Tuesday that it had lowered its expectations that an El Nino would form this year to a 50/50 chance from previous estimates of a 70 per cent chance.
El Nino events typically see the Pacific Ocean become less of a heat sink, propelling global temperatures already elevated because of global warming closer to record levels.
With Peter Hannam and AAP