Passengers are left stranded on a cruise ship after powerful winds rammed the vessel into a Melbourne pier – as wild weather uproots trees and damages homes across the city.
Wild winds have battered Victoria with a cruise ship wedged up against a pier, trees down and dozens of calls for help. A severe weather warning is in place for damaging winds of up to 100km/h in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs and elevated areas including the Yarra Ranges, the Bureau of Meteorology says.
Tug boats had to help rescue the Astor cruise ship, which was blown onto the edge of Station Pier at St Kilda on Monday night. “Cruise ship has wedged up against end of Station Pier. Tug boat sent in to try and stabilize,” witness Michelle Anderson wrote on Twitter.
Trees were down across the state with one falling at Ripponlea station causing train services to be cancelled.
A high-pressure system from the south and a low-pressure trough from the east is causing the wild weather, as well flow on effects from Cyclone Kelvin in Western Australia. The strongest winds were forecast between 10.30pm and 1.30am on Monday into Tuesday, Bureau of Metrology senior forecaster Beren Bradshaw said.
“The worst hit areas will be generally over the Yarra Ranges and eastern suburbs of Melbourne as well as the Alpine Region,” she said.
“We are expecting during the early morning period, by about sunrise, we’ll be potentially seeing winds easing.”Mountt Baw Baw, Falls Creek, Mountt Hotham and Mountt Buller were expected to be hit with peak gusts of 100km/h, she said.
A strong wind warning remains in place for west coast, central and east Gippsland coasts. The State Emergency Services received more than 250 calls for help on Monday with the winds blowing down 213 trees and leaving dozens of homes damaged. The severe weather is expected to ease by Tuesday morning with the SES advising people to secure loose items, move vehicles away from trees and stay away from any downed power lines.
The Dandenong Ranges and Melbourne’s bayside appear to be hardest hit, with forecasters predicting Melbourne’s outer east could be hit with damaging winds of up to 100kmh on Monday evening. Ms Bradshaw said while winds would ease as the sun rose, parts of the state would still be lashed with wild wind until Tuesday afternoon.
“The winds will be strong for the first half of the day tomorrow, however, they won’t be as strong as today,” she said. “There is still a strong wind warning in place for Port Phillip, Western Port, West Coast and Central Coast areas.”While it will be windy, there is a silver lining. Melbourne will be blessed with clear skies and sunshine with a top of 29 degrees predicted for Tuesday.