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Hothouse temperatures in Western Australia as Victoria braces down for a drenching

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Further flooding is likely across Qld this week while a storm outbreak brings the risk of flash flooding to Vic and NSW. Sky News Chief Meteorologist Tom Saunders explains.

A hothouse in Western Australia is funnelling temperatures of up to 40C down to Perth. Picture: Sky News Weather.Source:Supplied

Wild weather swept across Victoria and arrived in Melbourne earlier tonight bringing hail, rain and thunder.

The rain has been intense in some areas with Essendon Airport recording 18mm of rain in 20 minutes while She Oaks was smashed with 22mm in 25 minutes.

BOM duty forecaster Chris Godfred told The Herald Sun the rainfall was extreme in some places.

“The rain that we’ve had has been very intense,” he said. “That’s going to fill up the gutter pretty quickly.

“Not the sort of rainfall you usually experience outside the tropics.”

Fire crews battled to put out a blaze in Melbourne’s north, possibly caused by a lightning strike, while Melbourne’s transport system was disrupted after lightning strikes caused malfunctions on level crossings and other equipment along the Upfield line.

Buses also replaced trains on the Stony Point line because of the weather.

The worst of the storm has now passed Melbourne, but a humid night of at least 22C is forecast.

House fire in the Melbourne suburb of Preston, possibly caused from lightning. Picture: Tony Gough

House fire in the Melbourne suburb of Preston, possibly caused from lightning. Picture: Tony GoughSource:News Corp Australia

The rainfall won’t help firefighters battling numerous blazes over the next few days. Humid conditions are forecast for Thursday, and the potential for flash flooding in some parts of the state with up to 50mm falling “within an hour in some parts”, BOM meteorologist Chris Godfred says.

The average monthly rainfall for February is about 40mm.

But a Country Fire Authority spokeswoman says significant rain isn’t expected to fall in areas where fires are still burning.

More than 6200 hectares of land have been burnt in the Thompson Catchment fire, with authorities concerned it will affect drinking water supplies. Subsequent rain would wash bushfire-contaminated debris into the reservoir, Water Minister Lisa Neville warned.

“Our concern right now, ironically, is if those really big thunderstorms, which saw some 30mm of rain, fell on the catchment, fell on those fires, then we would start to see run-off obviously much earlier than we thought,” she told reporters on Tuesday.

If that happens, drinking water could be taken from the bottom of the dam, not the top, she added.

A hothouse in Western Australia is funnelling temperatures of up to 40C down to Perth. Picture: Sky News Weather.

A hothouse in Western Australia is funnelling temperatures of up to 40C down to Perth. Picture: Sky News Weather.Source:Supplied

A watch and act is in place for the Grantville fire with crews on alert for gusty conditions reigniting hot-spots in the area.

Crews are also on watch after lightning sparked multiple fires and aircrews will scan the state’s northeast region for the rest of the week to detect any new fires.

Meanwhile, a hothouse of blistering heat is sat stationary across much of the west of the continent shooting temperatures up towards the 40C mark.

Elsewhere, the weather systems are equally slow moving and that means more of the monsoon for Queensland where flooding “could last for weeks” and sun for Sydney. But dangerous storms are rattling Victoria with 6pm and 9pm on Wednesday the “main risk time” for Melbourne.

“For most parts of Australia there is a stagnant weather pattern with the same weather every single day,” said Sky News Weather channel’s Tom Saunders.

In Victoria, parts of the state can expect a month’s worth of rain in a single hour on Wednesday, forecasters have warned.

In Horsham, in Victoria’s west, 20mm of rain fell in just 20 minutes on Wednesday as a storm barrelled through.

Steven McGibbony, a forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology, said humid and warm conditions were leading to an “unstable atmosphere” which in turn was be a precursor for storms and drenching bursts of moisture.

“The main risk is for heavy rainfall and a possibility of damaging winds and hail.

“There is a risk of storms anywhere across Melbourne today and tomorrow with the main risk time in the city being between about 6pm and 9pm this afternoon.”

Mr McGibbony said January’s average rainfall in the city was around 45mm and just one storm could bring 30mm in a natter of minutes. A couple of those could easily beat the usual monthly rain totals.

It will be around 30C in Melbourne CBD today but that will likely drop to 21C on Friday and 23C on the weekend.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Bureau issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the central west of the state and Gippsland stretching from the Murray down to Warrnambool and to Bendigo and Ballarat. This could lead to flash flooding.

As the day progresses it’s highly likely that band of storms could encroach upon Melbourne.

Scorching highs in Western Australia but the south east should be cooler. Picture: BSCH.

Scorching highs in Western Australia but the south east should be cooler. Picture: BSCH.Source:Supplied

HOTHOUSE

But further west it’s all about the heat with a run of scorching days in Perth. Today could see a high of 36C, then 38C for Friday and 40C on the weekend.

A low pressure system has squatted itself north of Perth happily churning away sucking in hot desert air from the north and east of the state and then depositing it to the south.

“Perth is forecast to have at least five consecutive days with a maximum of at least 35C, that’s the first time in five years,” said Sky’s Mr Saunders.

“Western Australia is stuck with a dry easterly airstream right now and at this time of year that sees clear skies offshores winds on the west coast and that means hot temperatures.”

And then there’s the monsoon in Queensland that will shuffle about a bit but is still days from getting the hint and find someone else to pick on.

“The monsoonal low on Thursday will be moving north and east and that will cause rain on Thursday to ease in north west parts of Queensland although flooding on the coast could last for weeks.

“By Saturday most of the rain will have cleared up but we’re still expecting huge falls across most of tropical Queensland between now and the end of rain event so we will see another 50mm of rain, and hundreds of millimetres on coastal areas,” Mr Saunders said.

Mackay could see up to 90mm of rain on Thursday.

Brisbane will continue its run of warm days of between 31-33C with some rain.

Sydney will get to 30C on Friday, then back into the high 20s before a 33C day on Tuesday. Canberra is looking at highs round the 30C mark for the next week with a possible storm on Friday.

Hobart will get to 27C on Thursday with a possible storm; then expect maximums of around 20C on the weekend.

Adelaide will be sunny and humid but will escape the hothouse conditions affecting Western Australia. Around 21C for the next couple of days and then heading down into the mid-20s.

Darwin: 32-33C and stormy.

— with AAP

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