Source: Bureau of Meteorology

For people in Central, South West, Northern Country, North Central, North East, West and South Gippsland, Wimmera and parts of East Gippsland and Mallee Forecast Districts.

Issued at 12:15 pm Sunday, 19 December 2021.
Squally thunderstorms likely across Victoria

Weather Situation: A cold front over the southwest of the State will continue to move rapidly east today . A strong upper atmospheric system will further support thunderstorms near and east of the cold front.

Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce damaging winds over the next several hours in the Central, South West, Northern Country, North Central, West and South Gippsland, Wimmera and parts of the Mallee and North East districts. Locations which may be affected include Horsham, Warrnambool, Bendigo, Shepparton, Seymour, Maryborough, Ballarat, Geelong, Melbourne, Wangaratta and Traralgon.

Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce damaging winds and heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding over the next several hours in parts of the East Gippsland, North East and West and South Gippsland districts. Locations which may be affected include Sale, Dargo, Maffra and Mt Hotham.

In southern and central parts of the State, storms with damaging wind gusts are most likely to be associated with a squally wind change cross the State.
The change is due to move up the Surf Coast from 1:00pm, reaching Geelong and Ballarat at approximately 2:00pm, Melbourne at 3:00pm, and the eastern suburbs around 3:30pm.
Peak gusts are likely to reach 110km/h with the wind change, although higher gusts are also possible.

The State Emergency Service advises that people should:
* If driving conditions are dangerous, safely pull over away from trees, drains, low-lying areas and floodwater. Avoid travel if possible.
* Stay safe by avoiding dangerous hazards, such as floodwater, mud, debris, damaged roads and fallen trees.
* Be aware - heat, fire or recent storms may make trees unstable and more likely to fall when it's windy or wet.
* Check that loose items, such as outdoor settings, umbrellas and trampolines are safely secured. Move vehicles under cover or away from trees.
* Stay indoors and away from windows.
* If outdoors, move to a safe place indoors. Stay away from trees, drains, gutters, creeks and waterways.
* Stay away from fallen powerlines - always assume they are live.
* Be aware that in fire affected areas, rainfall run-off into waterways may contain debris such as ash, soil, trees and rocks. Heavy rainfall may also increase the potential for landslides and debris across roads.
* Stay informed: Monitor weather warnings, forecasts and river levels at the Bureau of Meteorology website, and warnings through VicEmergency website/app/hotline.