Storm whips city as rain buckets down

Victoria was whipped by a violent storm that uprooted trees, left commuters stranded, and deposited up to 46 millimetres of rain on parts of the state yesterday.

The storm struck Melbourne about 3.30pm, blackening the sky and causing lightning strikes. At its peak, planes were grounded at Melbourne airports, with one flight from Sydney turning back because of bad weather. Rail networks were also disrupted.

Victoria's State Emergency Service received 120 calls for assistance yesterday. Spokesman Lachlan Quick said the most serious incident occurred at Creek Road in Belgrave, where a tree fell onto a house, piercing the roof and damaging the walls.

Closer to the city, as many as 15 cars were involved in a multi-car crash on the Western Freeway.

Three people were injured in the crash, which happened near Ferris Road in Melton South shortly after 6pm.

They were treated at the scene for minor injuries, including whiplash and neck strain.

Damage from the crash was spread over a few hundred metres, with some of the vehicles ending up nose-to-tail along the busy stretch of road.

According to Weatherzone, the Dandenong Ranges, east of Melbourne, received the highest rainfall, with Ferny Creek drenched in 46mm, the town's highest fall since December.

In all, Melbourne received nine millimetres of rain. Mr Quick said the storm could have been worse.

"It was dramatic rather than devastating. It looked pretty serious, but in fact it didn't have much substance to it," Mr Quick said.

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