Weather alert: severe warnings across Victoria

The worst is over for Melbourne, but don’t expect life to get any drier.

The Bureau of Meteorology has cancelled its weather warning for Victoria’s central district, after it received a drenching that caused widespread road chaos on Thursday.

Ambulance Victoria paramedics attended more than 24 collisions across the state in the eight hours to 1pm, including a crash between a car and a bus, and a cattle truck that jackknifed on a bridge.

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Bureau forecaster Andrea Peace said Melbourne had received 18 millimetres of rain since 9am Wednesday.

“So that’s 30 millimetres since Tuesday, which is a little over half of Melbourne’s average rainfall for April,” she said.

While the heaviest conditions had passed, Ms Peace said drizzle and rain would continue into the weekend.

“We’ve still got a bit of cloud cover and a lot of moisture in the air, so even though it has eased off, that doesn’t mean it won't come back again,” she said.

“We could see another 10 to 15 millimetres by the end of tomorrow.”

Melbourne was on track to pass its average rainfall for April by Saturday, she said.

Conditions have shown no sign of easing in the rest of the state, with the Bureau issuing a flood watch alert for the state’s north-east.

Up to 65 millimetres of rain fell in the Goulburn and Broken River catchments in the 24 hours to 9am Thursday, with more forecast for the rest of Thursday and Friday.

Drivers have been warned to take care on Victoria’s wet roads, following a string of crashes across the state on Wednesday night and Thursday.

Major incidents included a B-double truck that was transporting frozen chickens rolling on the Western Highway at Middle Creek, near Ballarat, about 5am. The highway is expected to remain closed until mid-afternoon Thursday.

At 8.30am, a truck transporting live cows jackknifed on a bridge in Winchelsea, west of Geelong. An Ambulance Victoria spokesman said there were no injuries to the driver.

Closer to Melbourne, a driver had a lucky escape on Wednesday night when his car was dragged by a truck for five kilometres in Williamstown.

Commuters were delayed on Thursday by a six-car smash on Fitzsimons Lane, Eltham, and crashes on the Ringwood Bypass in Ringwood, Blackburn Road in Doncaster East and Burke Road in Glen Iris.

VicRoads director road operations, Dean Zabrieszach, said motorists had to adapt their driving to suit the weather conditions.

“We are asking that drivers be patient, take extra care, leave plenty of room between you and the car in front, brake earlier and turn on your headlights if visibility is poor,” he said.

“We encourage people to make sure their car is safe for the weather conditions. Everyone should check their tyres, windshield wipers and demisters.”

A tram derailed in Melbourne’s city centre, causing delays and terminations to route 70, 75 and city circle services.

A Yarra Trams spokesman said the tram’s rear wheels derailed while turning left from Spencer Street into Flinders Street just after 10.30am Thursday.

Route 70 trams were terminating at King Street and route 70 trams diverted via La Trobe Street before the blockage was cleared just before midday. He said the derailment was not caused by wet weather.

And two women were taken to hospital after a car and a public bus collided in Doncaster East, closing lanes on Blackburn Road.

The crash happened about 7.30am and brought power lines down on top of the bus.

A woman in her early 20s who was travelling in the bus and a woman in her late teens who was driving a car were treated at the scene by paramedics and taken to Box Hill Hospital, both in stable conditions.

Meanwhile, unusually for a rain sodden day, a fire has played havoc with traffic on Punt Road on Thursday afternoon.

A  truck carrying a rubbish skip filled with wood caught fire around 1.30pm, prompting the closure of two right-hand inbound lanes on Punt Road, just before the city link entrance.

Traffic was down to two lanes for hours until the lanes reopened just after 4pm.

A spokesman from the Metropolitan Fire Brigade said it took 10 minutes to bring the fire under control with foam retardant.

‘‘The fire is under control but was generating quite a bit of smoke,’’ he said.

The rain will also affect footy fans this weekend with no parking at the MCG because of the soggy conditions.

The MCC annouinced on Thursday afternoon that Yarra Park will be closed for both AFL matches - Richmond v Collingwood on Friday and Carlton v Melbourne on Saturday.

"As a result, the MCC advises patrons to use public transport where possible," it said.

Swan Hill in Victoria's north-west has been one of the hardest-hit parts of the state, receiving 52 millimetres of rain since 9am Wednesday.

A low-pressure system developing over Bass Strait could also cause heavy rain in central and eastern Gippsland on Friday and Saturday. The area has largely been unaffected by the heavy weather so far.

The State Emergency Service has advised that areas recently affected by fire could be prone to landslides and debris on roads caused by run-off.

The SES received 58 requests for help across the state overnight.

A spokeswoman said requests were concentrated in the greater Melbourne area and were mostly to assist with building damage and fallen trees caused by the wild weather.

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