Severe Weather hits Melbourne
Saturday afternoon saw severe weather hit Melbourne and much of country Victoria. The Bureau of Meteorology reported hailstones up to 10 centimeters (4 inches) wide. Rain and hail ripped large holes in the roof of Southern Cross Railway Station, Melbourne Aquarium, National Gallery of Victoria and the Ian Potter Centre and Atrium at Federation Square. On the south side of the city water was said to be almost as high as the rooftops of stranded cars.
The State Emergency Service (SES) received over 2,500 calls for assistance with collapsed roofs and flooded homes. Over 10,000 inner city residents were left without power during the afternoon with another 20,000 region customers similarly affected. Nearly 60 millimeters of rain fell in the city by evening, with the most severe destruction occurring during the first 10 to 15 minutes.
I was working in the city when the storm hit. Together with many participants I made several shots during the storm. After class I had a look around and made a few photographs to record some of the damage.
The image at the top of this post was made during the storm’s initial deluge. The hailstones were hitting the outside windowsill with such ferocity that the resulting noise was both exciting and a little scary. After about 10 minutes the storm abated somewhat and I figured it was safe to invite the participants to head downstairs and check out the action.
This shot was made on the corner of Flinders Lane and Degraves Street. The dark, gloomy sky and the rush of people through the frame reminded me of the line “like a watercolor lost in the rain” from the Al Stewart song The Year of the Cat from back in the day.
The subway that links Degraves Street and Flinders Street with Flinders Street Railway Station was not spared from the ravages of the storm. I made this image looking down into the subway from one of the two Flinders Street entrances. I opted for a black-and-white rendering to emphasize the strong design elements present within the composition.
I noticed hailstones piled up along a sidewall of Federation Square several hours after the storm hit. It was quite a bizarre scene as the temperature was around 20C and still quite humid. I can only imagine that I was looking at the remnants of a somewhat larger pile dumped by the storm several hours earlier.
So, the lesson for photographers is to always have a camera with you. And if the only camera you have on hand is a phone camera, it’s still possible to make worthwhile images.
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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography