A SHOCK "supercell" weather event that "shredded" trees, destroyed homes and damaged businesses hit the small south-west town of Derrinallum last night.
Around 34 millimetres of rain and hail was said to have hit the town and up to 200 millimetres further north of the state just after 6pm on Sunday night, covering streets and backyards with a thick blanket of ice.
Lismore SES unit controller Colin Pickering said the damage was immense.
"A massive hail storm hit the whole town, I live eight kilometres west of Derri and where I live there was nothing at all, I've never seen anything like it," he said.
"There was quite a lot of damage, because the hail was so quick to come down it blocked up spouting which overflowed into homes.
"There was some window damage and a fair bit of roof damage. One roof collapsed under the weight of the hail stones, it was mutilated, totally destroyed.
"Trees in the main street were shredded by the hail storm. I've seen hail storms before but not to the magnitude of that, this was a supercell."
Derrinallum newsagent and chemist owner Ben Ross said there was a big cleanup ahead.
"We got hit hard, very hard," he said.
"But we've been very lucky, we've got floor damage and we lost a bit of stock but we've come out quite well and we're grateful that we've come out well.
"We've got family here now helping to clean up."
He said he experienced some damage at home too.
"It was too dark to get photos but it was like being at the snow, the roads were white like driving up to the Snowy Mountains," Mr Ross said.
"We had a tree down and it landed in the next door neighbour's yard, luckily there was no damage to anything."
Derri Takeaway owner Kym Gordon said she couldn't believe what she saw.
"All I can say is holy f*ck," she said.
"Our business hasn't had too much damage but other places in town haven't fared fine and our house hasn't fared okay either.
"The real damage was from the hail, we're trying to clean up as best we can."
Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Dean Narramore said it was a rare weather event.
"We had a couple of intense thunder storms develop between Ballarat and Beaufort, then Corangamite Shire and Derrinallum," he said.
"They were very stationary storms that formed on a convergence between moist easterlies and drier westerlies. There was over 200 millimetres of rain between Ballarat and Beaufort and the gauge in Derrinallum showed 34 millimetres - though we don't have many gauges in Derrinallum.
"Lismore had 24 millimetres so they were right on the edge of it."
Mr Narramore said the storm formed around 6.30pm on Sunday night and "stuck there" until about 10pm.
"It was an impressive event, in summer you can get big storms when it's humid and the moisture travels down from Queensland," he said.
"It does happen from time to time but to see a stationary storm for a number of hours is a little bit more rare.
"The south-west is back to fine and partly cloudy tomorrow, then a warm and windy one on Wednesday where we might get a band of showers and storms coming through."
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