Saturday, 6 March 2010


 “Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.” – Mark Twain

We have had a massive hailstorm here in Melbourne today, followed by heavy rain that came down in bucketfuls. It was about 2:45 p.m. in the afternoon when the sky darkened as if it were night and the wind howled. The sound of the hailstones falling on the roof was deafening and we though the roof would cave in! The hailstones were the size of large marbles, with some areas reporting golf-ball sized ones, while in other areas hailstones the size of tennis balls were seen. Falls of anything between 30 to 70 mm of rain were recorded in different parts of the city. The hailstones covered the ground like snow and the streets turned into rivers as the flooding waters ran through creating havoc on the roads.

Two pedestrians that were walking outside our house came and found shelter on our porch so we let them in while the storm raged outside. The damage was amazing. Trees were stripped of their leaves, cars had windscreens broken and had dents all over their panels. There were hundreds and hundreds of phone calls to the State Emergency Service and many cars were stranded on flooded city streets. Events were cancelled (including the horse racing), public transport ground to a stand-still and there was gridlock on city streets in the middle of Melbourne. The Southern Cross train station had to be evacuated as heavy rain tore a hole in its roof and a deluge splashed down on the train platforms.

I had to go out through the City at about 4:00 pm, and it was all fine until I got to Queen St, wanting to cross the Yarra at Queen’s Bridge. The road was flooded at Flinders St and nobody was game to cross the flooding torrent. I turned back and tried going via Spencer St, however, the traffic was horrendous and there was no way to cross. I cut through Flinders Lane, up Market St and went down to Queen St again. The water had subsided a little and as I saw a smaller car in front of me cross the flooded road, I followed suit and managed to get through.

The whole of the City was a mess. The beautiful plane trees had all of their leaves shredded by the hail and the footpaths were littered by leaf debris, looking like lawn. Piles of hailstones were still around, looking like snow. People were wading through the flooded streets and some cars had been abandoned as they had stalled and could not move. The scene was one of a catastrophe of huge proportions. The damage bill will climb to the millions I should think! More storms are said to follow.

Funnily enough the day started out very well with sunny blue skies. The weather bureau had predicted showers and “possible thunderstorms”. The ferocity and suddenness of the storm we had took everyone by surprise. Fortunately there was no damage to our house, although the garden did suffer somewhat. Tomorrow we’ll have to take stock of the damage…

In the meantime, here is a suitably wet song, sung by Greek singer, Notis Sfakianakis:


  1. Nicholas, this is amazing! We saw the report in the news and certainly we are no strangers to freak storms, but what you experienced is something else!
    PS: The song is fantastic!

  2. ... amazing indeed ... I was on-campus Sat. afternoon - in the Beaurepaire Centre when the hail began - the sound of the huge hailstones on the metal roof was incredible!! And then tucked up in the 1888 Building, for a few hours, waiting for the flooded streets to go down - good place to be stuck, after all! Very glad you were all safe too ...