Thunderstorms that hit Victoria on Wednesday will stay in the east of the state on Thursday, but rather than help ease the current active blazes, it might mean more bushfire trouble.
Lightning ignited fires in Victoria’s eastern Great Otway National Park on Wednesday and authorities fear it could do the same in the fire-ravaged East Gippsland and northeast regions.
Thunderstorms are also likely to produce damaging winds and carry large hail and heavy rainfall leading to flash flooding.
A severe thunderstorm warning was issued late evening on Wednesday for the northeast, East Gippsland and parts of central Victoria.
“Thunderstorms, a bit of a two-edged sword. While they can bring some much useful rain, it can also come down in pretty fast, high quantities,” Bureau of Meteorology senior meteorologist Kevin Parkyn said.
“There’s high concentrations of ash, very vulnerable landscape when it comes to short bursts of heavy rainfall – which could see very quickly mudslides developing.”
Mr Park also expressed his concern about debris such as soil, trees and rocks making their way to the waterways from the fire landscape.
A road water alert was also in place for Melbourne on Wednesday evening, after some western suburbs like St Albans saw up to 77mm of sudden rain.
The rain helped clear the hazardous bushfire smoke blanketing the city on Wednesday, which had caused the closure of a runway at Melbourne Airport and some flights delayed.
There were 19 active fires across Victoria on Wednesday evening by 10pm, with eight ‘Watch and Act’ alerts in place.