Source: Bureau of Meteorology

For people in Central, Mallee, South West, North Central, Wimmera and parts of East Gippsland, Northern Country, North East and West and South Gippsland Forecast Districts.

Issued at 9:29 am Saturday, 24 July 2021.

STRENGTHENING NORTHWESTERLY WINDS TODAY, TENDING WESTERLY SUNDAY

Weather Situation: A vigorous northwesterly flow is developing across Victoria today with a strong cold front entering the west of the State later in the day.

DAMAGING NORTHWESTERLY WINDS, averaging 50 to 60 km/h with peak gusts of around 90 km/h over western parts of the warning area are forecast to extend east this morning.

DAMAGING WINDS through the northwest of the State and through the Melbourne area are most likely with showers and thunderstorms this afternoon and early evening.

Wind gusts may reach 100 km/h across elevated parts of eastern Victoria (above 1200 metres) and across the peaks of the Grampians, while westerly wind gusts may also reach up to 110 km/h across the far southwest coast very late tonight and early on Sunday.

Westerly wind gusts of 90-100 km/h are also possible through the Melbourne area between around 3-6am Sunday, particularly near Bayside suburbs before easing during the morning.

DAMAGING WINDS are likely to contract to the southwest coast, Grampians and northeast ranges throughout Sunday morning.

Locations which may be affected include Mildura, Horsham, Warrnambool, Bendigo, Maryborough, Ballarat, Geelong and Melbourne.

The strongest gusts recorded so far:

- 82 km/h at Mt William at 8:33am

- 74 km/h at Cape Nelson at 9:20am

- 70 km/h at Mt Buller at 8:50am

The State Emergency Service advises that people should:
* If driving conditions are dangerous, safely pull over away from trees, drains, low-lying areas and floodwater. Avoid travel if possible.
* Stay safe by avoiding dangerous hazards, such as floodwater, mud, debris, damaged roads and fallen trees.
* Be aware - heat, fire or recent storms may make trees unstable and more likely to fall when it's windy or wet.
* Check that loose items, such as outdoor settings, umbrellas and trampolines are safely secured. Move vehicles under cover or away from trees.
* Stay indoors and away from windows.
* If outdoors, move to a safe place indoors. Stay away from trees, drains, gutters, creeks and waterways.
* Stay away from fallen powerlines - always assume they are live.
* Be aware that in fire affected areas, rainfall run-off into waterways may contain debris such as ash, soil, trees and rocks. Heavy rainfall may also increase the potential for landslides and debris across roads.
* Stay informed: Monitor weather warnings, forecasts and river levels at the Bureau of Meteorology website, and warnings through VicEmergency website/app/hotline.