‘Stay indoors’: Warning for 100km/h winds

Victorians have been urged to batten down the hatches with more damaging winds on the way.

Still recovering from last week’s deadly storm that left three people dead, a severe weather warning for damaging winds has again been issued for Thursday.

Gusts of up to 100km/h have been forecast to hit Melbourne on Thursday afternoon as a cold front rapidly crosses the state.

The weather bureau said “squally west to northwesterly winds” averaging 50 to 60km/h, with gusts up to 100km/h in elevated areas above 600m, would hit western Victoria from Thursday morning before crossing central Victorian and greater Melbourne in the afternoon.

Showers and isolated thunderstorms are also possible along the southern coastline and ranges as the front moves through.

Weather bureau senior forecaster Chris Arvier said it had been a very windy start to spring.

“It will be a fairly mild start once again on Thursday, but as the cold front crosses the state, it’s likely to become cool and showery behind the front,” he said.

Mr Arvier said 5-10mm of rain would fall along the coast and in the alpine regions, along with a dusting of snow down to 1300m, with the rest of southern Victorian expected to receive less than 5mm.

He said the winds would ease on Friday and Saturday ahead of sunny conditions and warmer temperatures on Sunday before strong winds redeveloped on Monday as another cold front approached.

Already in the past three hours a gust of 96km/h was recorded at Mt Hotham, while winds of 87km/h hit Falls Creek and 83km/h at Gelantipy in east Gippsland.

A 52km/h gust was also recorded at Sheoaks west of Melbourne just after 9am.

Locations likely to be affected by the damaging winds include Warrnambool, Ballarat, Geelong, Melbourne, Wonthaggi and Bacchus Marsh.

The weather bureau said the damaging winds would rapidly ease away from the coast in the west and central districts during Thursday evening and Alpine areas early Friday morning.

The State Emergency Service, which responded to multiple calls for assistance on Wednesday, urged people to stay indoors and away from windows and avoid travel, if possible.

Loose items such as outdoor settings, umbrellas and trampolines should be safely secured and vehicles moved under cover or away from trees.

jack.paynter@news.com.au

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