Wild weather causes havoc throughout Ballarat

The fallen tree in Park Street, Redan. Photo: Luka Kauzlaric.
The fallen tree in Park Street, Redan. Photo: Luka Kauzlaric.

TREES were blown down, buildings damaged and sporting events cancelled in a wild Saturday that left a trail of destruction throughout Ballarat.

The SES was called out to more than dozen incidents in a 12 hour period from 1am on Saturday morning as winds gusted to 74km/h.

Trees came down across the region, including a six metre silver birch which brought down overhead wires at a home in Redan at about 11am.

The SES was also called out to incidents from Wendouree to Mount Helen.

Shoppers at Stockland Wendouree were evacuated around midday for about half an hour due to a fire alarm which forced them to brave the weather in the cold.

The temperature hovered at less than 10 degrees until after 1pm, eventually topping out at 12.2 degrees.

SES were on the scene at a number of incidents throughout Ballarat

SES were on the scene at a number of incidents throughout Ballarat

Up until 1pm, Ballarat had copped 9.6mm of rain, with 4mm falling in just an eight minute period from 11.52am until 12pm

The masters rowing on Lake Wendouree was cancelled, as was the race meeting at Red Line Raceway which earlier in the day resembled an inland lake.

The vicious weather change came as the Bureau of Meteorology released a ‘special climate statement’ highlighting April 9 as the hottest April day ever in Australia with the national average of 34.97 degrees.

South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales all recorded their hottest April temperatures ever in the three-day period between April 9-11.

In Ballarat, the mercury officially reached 32.2 degrees on April 11 making it the hottest April day since records were created. 

It beat the previous record of 31.5 degrees which was set on April 10, 2005.

This tree came down in Warrenheip. Photo: Darren Card.

This tree came down in Warrenheip. Photo: Darren Card.

Ballarat is also well on track to record its hottest ever average April temperature. 

Despite the weekend’s cold change, the average temperature for the month is 24 degrees, well up on the monthly average of 18.2.

The hottest April on record averaged 21.8 degrees in 2005. But if you think it’s been unusual here, spare a thought for residents north of the Murray River which have seen 11 consecutive days about 30 degrees.

Climate Council Acting CEO and Head of Research Dr Martin Rice said the weather events were unheard of.

“April isn’t even half way through, but already we are seeing climate records topple thanks to hotter temperatures and heatwave events across the nation, including a scorching 43.7°C recorded at Roebourne in Western Australia,” he said.

“These records are part of a long-term warming trend, with seven of the 10 hottest years on record in Australia all occurring since 2005.” 

Ballarat will see average temperatures this week with expected tops between 16 and 18 degrees until Friday.