Homes damaged, power out as storm hits Ballarat

PHOTOS: Wild winds hit Ballarat

CLEAN UP efforts are under way around Ballarat after homes were damaged by a storm with fierce gusts of wind reaching up to 80km/h this afternoon.

The storm hit the city around 3.30pm, with driving rain contributing to power outages and traffic chaos. 

Several homes in Ballarat North suffered significant damage, with a Pinewood Drive home missing part of its roof and brickwork on an Atrium Drive home collapsing.

One resident described the storm in Ballarat North as like a "mini tornado". 

Electricity was cut to homes and businesses in Ballarat Central and around Humffray Street, with the Ballarat Police Station and Town Hall both losing power.

A Victoria Police spokesperson said the station was operating on generator power into the evening. 

Police have warned drivers to take care when approaching intersections without active lights and give way to traffic on their right.

The State Emergency Service has received around 65 calls for assistance, with four crews from Ballarat, Ararat and Bacchus Marsh working to finish recovery operations before midnight. 

An SES spokesperson advised people to keep clear of fallen power lines, secure loose objects around the home and stay indoors when possible. 

He said recovery work was expected to be completed before midnight at the latest. 

If you require assistance from SES volunteers, call 132 500. 

More to come.