A once-in-a-century storm has dumped more than a month’s rain on the Victorian city of Geelong, flooding buildings and trapping motorists and sparking hundreds of calls for help.
A severe thunderstorm cell developed over the surf coast and rolled through Geelong, pounding the city with a deluge of rain.
The State Emergency Service has taken 440 calls for assistance – the majority in Geelong – from around 3pm as the torrent hit.
“We’ve had seven people who had to be extricated from their vehicles because of flooding and eight people were trapped in their houses,” a State Control Centre spokesman told AAP.
“There was some flooding at Geelong Hospital but that hasn’t caused problems for any patients.”
Businesses in central Geelong were inundated as the rain overwhelmed stormwater drains.
A park outside the Geelong Railway Station turned briefly into a lake as brown, murky water swirled in.
Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Michael Efron said the thunderstorm cell moved very slowly northeast, causing the intense rainfall.
He said Avalon, near Geelong, recorded 72mm of rain since 9am – more than twice its average January rainfall – with 53.8mm in just 30 minutes.
Down the road in Geelong, 44mm of rain has fallen in the same period, with 24mm of that in just 20 minutes.
“From that intensity, we have determined that this was a one in 100-year event, so it was quite rare,” he told AAP.
A severe thunderstorm warning for heavy rainfall remains in parts of the South West and Central regions.
The warning area includes Geelong, Colac, Ararat, parts of Melbourne’s west and southeast and the Mornington Peninsula.