MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Wild weather in southeast Australia toppled trees, trapping people in cars and houses, cut power to more than 200,000 homes and unleashed flooding that claimed at least one life.
The extraordinary weather system that hit Victoria state and its capital, Melbourne, Wednesday night brought wind gusts of up to 119 kilometers (74 miles) per hour and up to 20 centimeters (8 inches) of rain, officials said.
The wind and rain moderated on Thursday, but the flood risk increased from rising rivers. People in around 220 homes threatened by a swollen creek were ordered to evacuate at Traralgon, east of Melbourne, officials said.
The body of a man in his 60s was recovered late Thursday from a car almost submerged in floodwater near the village of Westside, east of Melbourne, a police statement said.
A woman in her 40s was taken to a hospital in stable condition earlier Thursday with head injuries after a tree struck her home in Olinda, east of Melbourne, officials said.
Australia’s second most populous state had not been lashed by such a severe wind and rain event since 2008.
Several major roads had been closed by floodwater, a landslide and fallen trees. Collapsed power lines also posed dangers and left more than 200,000 homes across Victoria without electricity.
Emergency services received more than 5,000 calls for help, and 3,500 of those related to trees falling on houses and trapping people.
New South Wales, Australia’ most populous state on Victoria’s northern border, was in the grip of a cold snap on Thursday with unusually heavy and widespread snow cutting power to hundreds of homes.
Sydney, the state capital and the nations’ largest city, recorded its coldest day in 37 years on Thursday with a high temperature of 10.3 degrees Celsius (50.5 degrees Fahrenheit).