Large parts of Victoria, including Geelong and Melbourne, have been placed under a Watch and Act warning as severe thunderstorms move across the state, brining with them the risk of heavy rain, damaging winds and potential thunderstorm asthma.
The warning was isused by the Bureau of Meteorology as a top priority alert just after 2.30pm on Wednesday.
The notification to media carried a requirement for Radio and television stations to immediate broadcast the message to listeners and viewers.
“Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce damaging winds, large hailstones and heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding in the warning area over the next several hours,” the alert read.
It listed a number of locations as being under threat including Bendigo, Seymour, Maryborough, Ballarat, Geelong and Melbourne.
“A very moist airmass over Victoria will combine with a surface trough and an upper low over eastern SA, leading to development of severe thunderstorms across central districts this afternoon,” it continued.
“The trough will move into eastern Victoria during the afternoon and evening, with severe thunderstorms continuing into these areas.”
The State Emergency Service urged people to check and secure loose items such as outdoor settings, umbrellas and trampolines, and to move vehicles under cover and away from trees.
It said people should stay indoors and away from windows, and urged drivers to pull over while making sure to avoid trees, drains, low-lying areas and floodwaters.
People who are outdoors should move to a safe place indoors and stay away from trees, drains, gutters, creeks and waterways.
For the full warning go to the Bureau of Meteorology website.