Last week’s wintery change across Melbourne caused considerable damage and coastal flooding along the Victorian coastline.
The storm surge within Port Phillip Bay was close to a 100 year event with the Port of Melbourne’s Breakwater Pier water level recorder indicating a surge of 0.868 m. Thankfully for some of Melbourne’s low lying suburbs, this was not combined with a high tide and the total water level peaked under 1.2 m AHD. Considerable wave damage did occur along the Bay’s eastern coast though with maximum wind gusts above 60 kts in the north of the bay. Coastal infrastructure at Brighton, Sandringham and Half Moon Bay have led to closures of some facilities.
Western Victoria was also affected by the storms and Warwick Bishop was stationed at the Vic SES Warrnambool Incident Control Centre over the weekend. Warwick provided flooding advice to the SES using Water Technologys southern Australia ocean model to forecast the storm surge level and timing of the peak wave heights. This data was used to provide estimates of coastal inundation by using the storm surge levels as tailwater boundaries in flood models. The first storm front which hit Warrnambool and the west coast on the 24th June caused massive waves and significant flooding of low lying coastal areas. With the high tide coinciding with another storm front on Saturday, the SES were preparing for more damage but thankfully the storm front moved slower than first predicted by the BoM and whilst the water level peaked higher than Tuesdays event, the high waves and strong winds hit the coast during the low tide.