'via Blog this'
The damage bill could run into tens of millions of dollars after hundreds of cars were bombarded, windows in homes and businesses were smashed and roofing was torn away.
The State Emergency Service was called to more than 2500 jobs when a series of storm cells intensified dramatically in Melbourne in the afternoon.
The worst was a tornado that hit Fiskville, near Bacchus Marsh, west of Melbourne.
Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued for many parts of Victoria throughout the afternoon and evening, but the weather was expected to improve ahead of today's Boxing Day Test at the MCG.
Early this morning, a severe weather warning remained current for parts of southern New South Wales, including Wagga Wagga, Albury, Deniliquin, Cobar, Broken Hill and Wentworth.
Around Melbourne yesterday, most calls to the SES were from Keilor Park, Keilor Downs and Taylors Lakes. Parts of Eltham and Greensborough were hit more than once and planes were grounded at Melbourne Airport.
Lightning hit the 3AW transmission tower, knocking out its analogue signal and putting it off air to most listeners.
About 77 passengers on a flight out of Darwin spent almost four hours at Sale airport after Qantas decided it was unsafe to fly into Melbourne.
Metro warned commuters to expect major train delays, with most lines disrupted, and advised passengers to defer non-essential travel.
The storm blacked out more than 5000 homes in Port Melbourne, Ballarat, Armadale, Toorak and South Melbourne as families sat down to Christmas dinner.
A family in Apollo Rd, Taylors Lakes, had nine cars damaged and roof tiles and outdoor lights broken when the storm hit about 3.30pm.
Robyn Sullivan said the hailstones had been almost as big as tennis balls.
"It was like a roar as it came through," she said. "I've never heard anything like it."
Jim Egan was at the house for Christmas lunch when his car was pelted with hailstones.
"I had nine holes in the back window," he said. "One had come through the window, bounced around the car, and it was lodged between the console and the front windscreen."
A couple in Montmorency arrived home from Christmas lunch to find almost a metre of water running through their garage.
Michel Long said his Mercedes-Benz, caravan, bikes and other items were damaged.
"It's come in through the back of the garage from the next street and it's pushed the caravan through the door of the garage and there's debris everywhere ... the car has damage on the side of it where it's pushed a big cupboard out of the garage" Mr Long said.
"I estimate it's probably $25-30,000 damage."
SES spokesman Lachlan Quick said hundreds of volunteers had made big sacrifices to help residents.
"It's a pretty remarkable effort to drag yourself away from your turkey," he said.
- with Michelle Ainsworth
Read more: http://www.news.com.au/national/christmas-wild-weather-could-cost-millions/story-e6frfkvr-1226230231119#ixzz1hZ806ris