Crane danger as wild winds batter Melbourne
THOUSANDS of homes are without power after wild winds battered Victoria last night, with more than 100 calls to emergency services reported.
A crane arm is in danger of collapse in Richmond at the corner of Bridge Rd and Lennox St, forcing emergency services to evacuate more than 300 people from their homes in the middle of the night.
Streets in the area are closed to traffic.
The Metropolitan Fire Brigade was called in after the crane arm - about 40m above the street - was bent in the wild winds and is in danger of collapse.
Trams on Bridge Rd were stopped last night and residents were evacuated to Richmond Town Hall.
Emergency crews are waiting until daylight before stabilising the crane, with roads remaining closed through the morning peak.
Melbourne's outer north, east and southeast were the hardest hit, with 974 homes in Epping affected by power outages at 10pm.
More than 450 properties in East Warburton were also impacted by the wild weather, along with dozens of homes in Upper Plenty, Kinglake, Garfield, Emerald, Clematis and Cardinia.
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SES crews from Kilmore were called to Wallan at 6pm after a roof was ripped from a single-storey house.
An SES spokesman said the agency received 101 calls for help in the central Melbourne area after 1.30pm.
A severe weather warning for damaging winds was issued for Victoria's Central, South West, North Central and parts of East Gippsland as well as North East, West and South Gippsland and Wimmera districts.
In Melbourne, gusts of 111km/h were recorded in St Kilda and 113km/h on Port Phillip Bay last night.
Earlier yesterday, a piece of a tin roof was torn off from an Apollo Bay home, with the SES called to help secure the house.
"It looks like the tin has been blown off the house and the SES was called for help about 10.38am," a spokesman said.
The wild weather is not over.
The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning for damaging winds this morning for the Central, South West, North Central and parts of East Gippsland, North East, West and South Gippsland and Wimmera Forecast districts.
The bureau warns north to northwesterly winds will strengthen today as another cold front moves eastwards across the state.
Damaging winds with gusts up to 90km/h are expected, with mountain areas and the southwest coast in the firing line.
"Winds will increase from the west during the day, then ease later in the afternoon and evening," the bureau warns.
"Damaging wind gusts are most likely with showers during the afternoon as the cold front moves through.
"Over Alpine areas winds are expected to gradually increase during the day to average 70 to 80km/h by later this afternoon, with peak gusts of 100 to 110 km/h, before easing overnight."
Residents of Warrnambool, Ballarat, Geelong, Melbourne, Wonthaggi, Bacchus Marsh and the Alpine resorts are warned to expect the worst of the weather.
The SES urges anyone in the warning zones to move cars under cover or away from trees, secure loose items around the house, yard and balcony and stay clear of fallen power lines.