More than 500,000 properties left without power as heat, storms sweep Victoria
It has been a hot day in many centres across Australia, with fires and power outages in some places. Photo: AAP
It has been a scorcher for multiple states, but Victoria has been hit hardest by high temperatures.
Two fires raged in a national park and the electricity grid was hit as Victorians sweated through Tuesday, when temperatures surpassed 40 degrees Celsius in some parts of the state.
The Australian Energy Market Operator confirmed 500 kilovolt transmission lines tripped and multiple generators disconnected from the grid.
The operator is investigating the causes.
To keep the network secure and limit further potential damage, electricity provider AusNet was directed to reduce supply.
An estimated 500,000 properties were affected.
Most capital cities surpassed or went close to 30 degrees on Tuesday.
Fire danger and heatwave conditions prompted warnings in South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.
Along the coast of New South Wales the weather soured by late afternoon, with thunderstorms and lightning, although temperatures remained high.
The west of Victoria battled high temperatures and thunderstorms, with lightning starting fires and strong winds bringing down powerlines.
Emergency warnings are in place for separate fires in the Grampians National Park, which is in the Wimmera region and is under a catastrophic fire danger warning.
People near both fires at Bellfield and Mt Stapylton have been told it is too late to leave and to seek shelter from possible ember and fire attack.
“All agencies have been working very hard over the last couple of days in preparation for today,” Emergency Management Commissioner Rick Nugent told reporters on Tuesday.
“We have hundreds of volunteers out on the ground, working incredibly hard to ensure that they get on top of these fires very quickly.”
Victoria sweated through its warmest night of the summer and storms started early on Tuesday in the west of the state moving east through the day.
“It’s been hot, sizzling,” the Bureau of Meterology’s Kevin Parkyn, told reporters.
“We’ve seen 41.7C at Walpeup, 41.4C at Hopetoun there up in the northwest of the state.
“Incredibly 41C at Avalon there ahead of the wind change and the temperature dropped by about 15 degrees down to 26C in 15 minutes.”
Some 38 schools and 17 early childhood centres were shut due to Tuesday’s dangerous conditions.
An alert remained in place for thunderstorms and some hail for Melbourne and Port Phillip Bay through to the Bellarine and Mornington peninsulas.
A catastrophic fire danger rating was declared for some parts of the state. It’s the first catastrophic rating since the deadly Black Summer of 2019-20.
The bureau forecast extreme fire danger in South Australia’s Mid North, Riverland and Murraylands areas.
In Western Australia, a severe heatwave warning is current for the Kimberley, Gascoyne and Central West Districts.
There is no total fire ban in Tasmania however the state’s fire service has stopped issuing permits in the south and north of the state until 2am on Thursday and asked people to think carefully before lighting campfires and using machinery.