26 Dec 2011

Storms, flooding hit Australia

1:17 pm on 26 December 2011

Wild weather has hit Australia with storms in Melbourne and a tropical cyclone in Northern Territory.

Melbourne was facing a major cleanup on Monday of damage from severe thunderstorms.

The storm swept through the city and its outskirts on Sunday, flooding roads and bringing hail that damaged buildings and smashed windows.

A tornado reportedly powerful enough to lift cars hit Fiskville, the ABC says. It's believed another tornado struck Melton, which was one of the worst hit areas.

Emergency services spokesperson Lachlan Quick says there has been widespread building damage in Melbourne, including smashed skylights and windows, and holes in roofs.

He says there have also been many reports of cars with front and rear windows shattered by the large hailstones and falling debris.

Flights at Melbourne airport were grounded for a time on Sunday.

Cyclone weakens

Tropical Cyclone Grant brought winds of 130 km/h and torrential rain to remote Northern Territory communities.

Police at Croker Island, north-east of Darwin, told the ABC that power lines and trees were brought down as the cyclone came within kilometres of the island, but there was no serious structural damage to buildings.

The category two storm was weakening on Monday and a forecaster said gale-force winds were expected to the east of Darwin but not in the city itself.