Yarra Ranges bears brunt of cold front

Emerald SES had about 63 callouts from 29 April to 3 May. Pictures: COURTESY SES EMERALD UNIT

The Yarra Ranges was one of the hardest hit regions after wild weather lashed the state last week.

Areas such as Lilydale Lake and Woori Yallock Creek flooded while there were numerous callouts for tree falls around the Dandenong Ranges.

Emerald SES unit manager Ben Owen said they had about 63 callouts from 29 April until 3 May.

He said the next closest unit in the state had about 34 callouts.

“Most of our callouts were entire trees falling down so not trees snapping so much…trees down blocking access, trees on cars and blocking houses,” Mr Owen said.

“I think most of these trees are falling because they are getting wet so quickly.”

Lilydale SES responded to an incident where a tree fell onto a moving car in Montrose.

Lilydale SES controller Shaun Caulfield said the persistent rainfall and flooding contributed to the tree falling in a situation he described as a lucky escape for the driver.

“With the ground being so wet at the moment, it doesn’t take much for those trees to fall… It’s just one of those freakish accidents,” he said.

“He was just driving along and the tree fell and hit the bonnet of his car. Luckily for him it was only the bonnet. It was a very close call.”

Lilydale SES members also spent over four hours tending to a tree that had fallen across a house in Mount Evelyn on Saturday.

“We had about 20 calls in total, mostly for trees down in various locations,” Mr Caulfield said.

Upper Yarra SES were kept busy clearing back to back fallen trees that posed a road hazard in the early hours of Friday morning. The unit also responded to reports of a landslide along the road to Mt Donna Buang, which was attended by VicRoads and local police.

Two more incidents of falling trees occurred, one in Don Valley and another along the Warburton Highway in Yarra Junction on Friday.

But the trees continued to fall on Saturday as the Upper Yarra SES responded to a tree down over the road in Gladysdale, then one down across the Warburton Highway in Launching Place. The crew then returned to another incident in Don Valley and then Britannia Creek Road, where fallen trees had damaged power lines in both locations.

With the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting more rain for later this week, Mr Owen urged residents to maintain awareness.

“The higher winds are my concern for later in the week because the grounds are not drying out,” he said.

“If trees come down be cautious of power lines, call the power company or SES…Always move your cars away from under trees.

“If the rain comes back, avoid flooded roads at all costs.

“If you see a police car or an SES vehicle on the road, obey the 40km per hour speed limit.”