Cold front to bring thunderstorms, possible flooding after balmy start to spring

It was a pleasant start to spring for much of Victoria with unseasonably warm temperatures particularly in Melbourne overnight – but that’s about to change as a cold front passes across the state, bringing with it thunderstorms and the potential for damaging winds and flooding.

Melbourne saw minimum temperatures of 20 degrees on Thursday evening, but they were expected to fall to 12 degrees by early Friday evening.

Meteorologists said there was the possibility of thunderstorms everywhere across locked-down Victoria on Friday. Credit:Eddie Jim

The Bureau of Meteorology’s Phoebe de Wilt said the city’s overnight minimum temperatures were up there with the city’s highest for September.

She said a cold front with a rain band ahead of it had already started crossing Victoria on Friday morning, bearing down over Melbourne’s west about 9.30am.

The meteorologist warned that as the cold front moved across the state throughout Friday and in the evening, it would bring with it heavy rainfall, thunderstorms and potentially localised damaging winds.

“The cold front has actually already begun to cross the state and we do have a rain band ahead of it,” Ms de Wilt said on Friday morning. “At the front of that rain band is a line of thunderstorms.

“There’s a possibility of thunderstorm everywhere across the state today, but particularly in the east. These thunderstorms could be severe with heavy rainfall and possible localised damaging winds.”

Ms de Wilt said the thunderstorms in Victoria’s east were most likely to hit on Friday afternoon and evening, and rainfall was also expected to be heaviest in Melbourne about that time.

Plummeting temperatures across the state from Friday afternoon would be caused by a cold air mass behind the front.

“As that cold front crosses from the west to the east, those temperatures will drop,” Ms de Wilt said.

Melbourne was forecast to reach a top of 15 degrees on Saturday and 14 degrees on Sunday.

A severe weather warning for damaging winds has been in place for much of Victoria overnight, with the State Emergency Service fielding 36 requests for assistance in the 12 hours to about 9am, and 102 in the 24 hours to about 9am.

Of the 102 requests for assistance, 70 were for fallen trees. Ms de Wilt said the severe weather warning for damaging winds was expected to cease overnight despite the possible localised damaging winds in the east.

“Heavy rain with our thunderstorms can bring down the wind from aloft,” Ms de Wilt said.

What was of concern, Ms de Wilt said, was rainfall and possible flooding in the North-East, Central and Gippsland weather regions over the weekend.

Rainfall was set to hit much of the state over the weekend because of showers behind the cold front.

“There’s a bit of uncertainty about which areas and how heavy that rainfall will be across Gippsland over the weekend, but we do have a flood watch out for all of the river catchments in Gippsland,” Ms de Wilt said.

“There are several flood watches out, and in the north-east, particularly over the alpine regions, is where we’re expecting that there could be quite heavy falls.

“Because we’ve already got those saturated river catchments, there could be localised flooding there.”

Heavy rains were expected to hit the Gippsland region on the weekend after the cold front progressed east into NSW on Saturday.

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