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Strong winds blow Melbourne, SW Victoria in Australia
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15:04, April 15, 2009

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Australian police said on Wednesday that Melbourne and southwest Victoria were picking up the pieces after being buffeted by winds gusting up to 150km/h that blew down trees and damaged buildings.

"When the storm front came through Melbourne the winds were extremely high and, together with the age of the structure, they found a weak point and the awnings collapsed," The Melbourne Fire Brigade (MFB) Commander Darren Davies said in a statement.

Davies said it was lucky the incident happened at 07:00 a.m. local time when the streets and shops were still relatively empty. The storm damage was mostly restricted to fallen trees.

The State Emergency Service (SES) has received more than 550 calls for assistance, Davies said.

Melbourne's rail network has also caught up in the chaos with delays on all lines after lightning struck power lines at Upper Ferntree Gully during the morning.

By early afternoon the storm had moved into eastern Victoria and was losing strength.

Victoria is the state located in the southeastern corner of Australia.


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