By Oliver Lees
Sunbury emergency services were busy again last week as heavy rains and hail hit the area.
In the 24 hours to noon last Thursday, the State Emergency Service’s (SES) Sunbury unit responded to a total of 54 calls for help in the area.
SES Sunbury crew member Jarrod Bell said it turned out to be another eventful day in a banner year for emergency services in Victoria.
But unlike the extreme winds that knocked down trees in October, Mr Bell said this time his unit was helping those facing the flooding.
âThere were something like 20 flood rescues going on simultaneously in Melbourne,â Mr Bell said.
âOverall, the calls we responded to were in response to flash floods and damage to buildings due to heavy hail in the area.
“I would say the hail was, on average, about the size of a large log, two to three centimeters [in diameter]. ”
The unit also participated in more distant operations, including three flood rescue operations in Broadmeadows, Essendon and Brunswick.
Mr Bell said no one who asked for help required medical attention.
The heavy downpour came just days after Australia recorded its wettest November on record.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), Australia’s new average precipitation record in November is 72 millimeters, more than double the November national average of 32 millimeters. November also marked the end of Australia’s wettest spring since 2010.
Mr Bell said it was imperative that people properly prepare for a wetter than average summer.
âIn terms of preparation, it is very important to ensure that all drainage is free of obstructions in the spring and early summer,â he said.
âPeople seem to feel like they can always risk it, which then puts themselves, their families and, ultimately, members of the emergency services at risk.
“A lot of people have a fire plan, but we really encourage people to have storm and house contingency plans that more broadly cover these risks for themselves and their families.”
“People can really do their part – preventing a call is always better than a real cry for help.”