Long-lived severe storm hits Victoria's Gippsland

Ben Domensino, 10 May 2019

A near-stationary severe thunderstorm developed near Wonthaggi in eastern Victoria on Friday morning, covering beaches and roads with thick hail.

A cold front and low pressure system moving over Victoria on Friday produced widespread rain and thunderstorms.

Early in the morning, a line of converging winds started to produce thunderstorms just off the coast near Wonthaggi. These storms originally remained over water, before an intense cell develop over the coast near Cape Patterson, to the south of Wonthaggi.

This thunderstorm cell remained almost stationary for about two hours, generating lightning strikes, heavy rain and hail. It’s unusual for an individual storm to affect one location for such a long time.

Photos taken after the storm revealed entire beaches and roads covered in a thick layer of small hail. In some areas, the uniform cover of hail was mistaken for snow.

Image: Hail near Cape Paterson on Friday morning. Credit: Brad Richards


While there were no official rain gauges under the storm, it’s likely to have produced 50-100mm of rain, possibly more. This type of rain in a couple of hours is more than enough to cause  flash flooding.

Image: Hail near Cape Paterson on Friday morning. Credit: Brad Richards

The storms eventually weakened and moved north over Wonthaggi shortly before midday.

At 2pm local time, a severe weather warning for heavy rain was still in place for parts of central Victoria, including Melbourne and the area around Wonthaggi.

Elsewhere in Victoria, some areas received their best rain in a few years during the 24 hours to 9am on Friday. Ben Nevis (59mm) and Cape Otway (35mm) saw their heaviest rain in eight and six years, respectively. Ballarat’s 44mm was a two-year high.

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