Half a million Victorians have been plunged into darkness after the region’s largest power station shut down, as the state has been battered by wild weather and bushfires.
Some households could be without power for days after AGL Energy’s Loy Yang A coal-fired power station in the Latrobe Valley shut down just after 2pm on Tuesday, causing wholesale energy prices to soar.
High winds reportedly toppled two transmission towers, leaving them unable to transmit electricity and causing the power station to go offline.
Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio revealed that 500,000 people were left without power due to the ‘physical collapse of transmission towers’.
‘The situation remains volatile,’ Ms D’Ambrosio added.
Some households could be without power for days after AGL Energy’s Loy Yang A coal-fired power station in the Latrobe Valley (pictured) shut down just after 2pm on Tuesday, causing wholesale energy prices to soar
Meanwhile, parts of Melbourne were hit by heavy downpours on Tuesday (pictured: a commuter shelters from the rain)
Elsewhere, bushfires raged across parts of western Victoria, with many people forced to flee their homes (stock image)
Emma Tyner, a spokesperson for Citipower and Powercor, said it could take ‘days’ for the power to be restored after high winds and lightning strikes damaged electrical infrastructure.
‘It’s very widespread, from the western suburbs of Melbourne, Bendigo, through the inner suburbs of Melbourne, Ballarat, Maryborough, Charlton, Shepparton,’ Ms Tyner told the ABC.
‘The band of lightning and extraordinary wind that we’ve seen push through the state has caused extensive damage and we’re still seeing this weather pattern pass through.’
In response, the n Energy Market Operator ordered electricity usage cut across the network, according to a statement on Tuesday afternoon.
It came as bushfires raged across parts of western Victoria, with many people forced to flee their homes.
Many people forced to flee their homes, while others were told it was ‘too late to leave’ and ordered to seek shelter
Meanwhile, hailstones the size of golf balls fell in Ballarat (pictured)
Residents and holidaymakers in the Grampians National Park were told to evacuate immediately because of two raging bushfires.
Emergency warnings have been issued on Tuesday for out-of-control blazes at Bellfield and Mount Stapylton.
The orders to leave immediately apply to those in Halls Gap, Bellfield, Bellfield Settlement, Lake Fyans, Pomonal, Dadswells Bridge, Ledcourt, Roses Gap and Wartook (pictured: a shot from Pomonal where homes have reportedly been lost to the blazes)
The orders to leave immediately apply to those in Halls Gap, Bellfield, Bellfield Settlement, Lake Fyans, Pomonal, Dadswells Bridge, Ledcourt, Roses Gap and Wartook.
The Mt Stapylton fire is set to head towards Dadswells Bridge and Ledcourt but conditions are ‘dangerous and unpredictable’, the emergency website stated.
People affected by that fire have been told to head towards Stawell, with authorities warning the Western Highway is closed between Horsham and the Warracknabeal-Stawell Rd intersection.
The Bellfield blaze is travelling in a southerly direction towards Pomonal, with people affected by that blaze being told to go towards Ararat using Ararat Halls Gap Rd.
Some 38 schools and 17 early childhood centres have shut due to the dangerous conditions.
The wet and wild weather also hit Sydney on Tuesday afternoon, with some road closures in the western suburbs after fallen trees hit powerlines
A watch and act advice is also issued for all of Melbourne and stretching down Port Phillip Bay through to the Bellarine and Mornington peninsulas, with hail falling in areas.
A catastrophic fire danger rating has been declared for the Wimmera region, extreme fire danger is forecast for the Mallee, a high danger rating is in place for the rest of Victoria except for East Gippsland and there is a total fire ban in much of the state.
It’s the first catastrophic rating since the Black Summer of 2019-20, which was one of the most intense and catastrophic fire seasons on record in .
Meanwhile, a severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for parts of west and south Gippsland.
Damaging winds, large hailstones and heavy rainfall could lead to flash flooding on Tuesday evening.
Melbourne and its surrounding suburbs were battered by rain and hail on Tuesday afternoon.
Hailstones the size of golf balls fell in Ballarat, while parts of Melbourne saw major flooding.
Winds were so strong they brought down a tree in Clayton, in the city’s south east, with its roots ripping up the footpath.
Storm damage affected the rail network with commuters experiencing lengthy delays and bus replacement services on some lines.
The wet and wild weather also hit Sydney on Tuesday afternoon, with some road closures in the western suburbs after fallen trees hit powerlines.
Wind gusts of over 100 km/h were detected in parts of Illawara in NSW’s south east, while 36mm of rain fell in 30 minutes near Clarence in the Blue Mountains.
Damaging winds, large hailstones and heavy rainfall were forecast for parts of Sydney, Greater Wollongong, Blue Mountains/Hawkesbury and Maitland/Cessnock areas.
Meanwhile, severe thunderstorms were predicted in the Sutherland Shire and near Putty.