As many as 18,000 Victorian homes powered by PowerCorp lost power across the state last night while the city of Geelong was left partly underwater and areas felt cyclone-strength wind gusts.
The Bureau of Meteorology this morning warned more severe thunderstorms with damaging winds and heavy rainfall were headed for the centre and east of the state, with the peak risk in Melbourne predicted to be in the early to mid-afternoon.
Melbourne began being lashed by heavy rain and winds shortly after lunchtime, soon after dark skies set in and the temperature has dropped from in the 30s to about 22C.
Shortly after the SES has issued a Watch and Act warning for Greater Melbourne.
The city’s west is being hit the hardest, with particular warnings issued for the suburbs of Werribee and Lara.
However, flash flooding has been seen occurring right across Melbourne, from Werribee to Mentone in the south-east and McKinnon.
Closer to Melbourne’s centre, the rain has seeped inside Chadstone Shopping Centre, with an area outside Myer seen under inches of water.
Wheelie bins have been seen floating down a street in one part of Melbourne, while a man has filmed himself kayaking down a street, claiming he “needed to get to the shops”.
A number of Melbourne roads have been closed due to the rain.
The Burke Road offramp is one of several sections of road that have been closed due to flooding.
Closures are also in place on the Maroondah Highway in Healesville, Manningham Road in Bulleen, Glenferrie Road in Toorak, North Road in Murrumbeena and on the Princes Freeway in Pakenham.
An Uber became stuck under a bridge in an Elwood canal filled with floodwaters.
Water was seen getting almost up the four-wheel-drive’s door handles.
The driver and passenger had to climb out the car’s windows and onto the roof before they were pulled to safety on the overhead bridge by passersby.
The SES responded to 384 calls for help overnight, predominantly for flooding, fallen trees and building damage mainly around the Geelong and Bellarine Peninsula areas in the state’s south-west.
The SES has had more than 899 calls for help since storms began at 9pm on Wednesday.
Heavy rain in Geelong caused the roof of a Belmont Ten Pin Bowling centre to collapse.
Geelong experienced a massive 38mm of rain in just 20 minutes at one point in the evening, according to Weatherzone.
Meanwhile, a wind gust of 139km/h ripped through Horsham in the state’s west and a gust of 133km/h hit Swan Hill just after 8.30pm, which are equivalent to the wind gusts experienced in a Category Two cyclone.
Vivid lightning strikes were seen across the state, particularly Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs, with two houses struck by bolts of lightning.