The sandy beaches of Victoria’s Cape Paterson turned white on Friday after the coastal hamlet was blanketed by a freak hailstorm. ‘I’ve grown up here and it’s not something I’ve ever seen before,’ local says, after storm hits Gippsland’s Cape Paterson.
Victorians were bracing for huge rainfall and chilly temperatures as a cold front moves across the state from the south-west throughout the day, with 50mm of rain already soaking some towns west of Melbourne.
But for the residents of Cape Paterson, in Gippsland and about 150km south-east of Melbourne, the stormy weather came with a surprise.
The seaside village resembled a snowfield, forcing residents to shovel hail from their doorsteps, while videos posted to social media showed hail covering local roads.
“I’ve grown up here and it’s not something I’ve ever seen before,” said Glenn Sullivan, who lives in nearby Wonthaggi. “The whole beach was covered. Everyone was just stunned by it. It was an amazing thing to see.”
Sullivan drove down to Cape Paterson after he spotted the “static” storm clouds on the horizon as he was out cycling in the region.
“I drove out there and as I got to the town, and to the beach, there was ice that was touching the bottom of my car. It was about 10cm-15cm high,” he said.
The hailstorm prompted a warning from the state’s emergency services, which flagged the potential for flash-flooding and other dangerous conditions.
Temperatures climbed to a modest maximum of 14°C in Melbourne on Friday. Between 10mm to 15mm of rain fell in just 15 minutes in some eastern suburbs as heavy showers and thunderstorms passed over about lunchtime, senior forecaster of the bureau Richard Carlyon said.
“It’s arguably the wettest day of the year so far.”
The Melbourne city gauge recorded 7mm before 9am and a further 8mm by early afternoon, with more showers expected.
Areas west of Melbourne recorded the highest rainfall, with 56mm up to 9am at Aireys Inlet and 44mm at Ballarat.
Rain has fallen across much of Victoria in the 24 hours to 9am this morning – heaviest falls in the W. Highest totals: 59mm at Ben Nevis, 56mm at Aireys Inlet, 53mm at Eversley, 48mm at Meridith and Mt Buninyong. Can you beat those?! #VicWeather rainfall: https://t.co/Xedp1nsnHJ pic.twitter.com/RZX7LWSczm— Bureau of Meteorology, Victoria (@BOM_Vic) May 9, 2019
The SES warned drivers to slow down, maintain a greater distance from the vehicle in front and turn on headlights.
Cape Paterson hit by a massive hail storm this morning. pic.twitter.com/YuoEblsviD— Luke Watson (@LukeWatson79) May 10, 2019
Drivers are also urged to avoid driving through flooded roads. Heavy rain is expected to reduce visibility, making road conditions dangerous across the inner, western, northern, eastern and southeastern suburbs.
#melbourneweather Hail blankets Victoria's Cape Paterson like #snow. #Victorian seaside town has been left looking like a snowfield after being blanketed in hail as a cold snap hit the state. #CapePaterson, 132km south-east of #Melbourne, was hit with the hailstones pic.twitter.com/wvxEfGDa5H— Brandi News Update (@brandilmelb) May 10, 2019
While the bureau says it’s not an unusual amount of rain for this time of year, Carlyon warned autumn leaves blocking drains could lead to localised flash flooding.
The wet, chilly weather is also forecast to bring snow in alpine areas, in altitudes as low as 1000m, with around 5-to-10cm possible.
Very weird for this time of the year!