Weather chaos strikes Victoria as out-of-control bushfire rages, 500,000 Aussies lose power and hail strikes – and a storm smashes Sydney

Half a million Victorians were plunged into darkness after the region’s biggest power station was shut down as the state was battered by wild weather and bushfires.

Some households could be without power for days after AGL Energy’s Loy Yang A coal-fired power station in the Latrobe Valley shut down just after 2pm on Tuesday, sending wholesale energy prices soaring.

High winds reportedly knocked over two transmission towers, rendering them unable to transmit electricity and causing the power station to go offline.

Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio revealed 500,000 people were left without power due to the ‘physical collapse of transmission towers’.

“The situation remains volatile,” Ms D’Ambrosio added.

Some households could be without power for days after AGL Energy's Loy Yang A coal-fired power station in the Latrobe Valley (pictured) shut down just after 2pm on Tuesday, sending wholesale energy prices soaring.

Some households could be without power for days after AGL Energy’s Loy Yang A coal-fired power station in the Latrobe Valley (pictured) shut down just after 2pm on Tuesday, sending wholesale energy prices soaring.

Bushfires have raged across parts of Western Victoria, with many people forced to flee their homes (stock photo)

Bushfires have raged across parts of Western Victoria, with many people forced to flee their homes (stock photo)

Emma Tyner, a spokeswoman for Citipower and Powercor, said it could take “days” to restore power after strong winds and lightning damaged electrical infrastructure.

“It’s very widespread, from the western suburbs of Melbourne, Bendigo, through the inner suburbs of Melbourne, Ballarat, Maryborough, Charlton, Shepparton,” Ms Tyner said. ABC.

“The lightning and extraordinary wind that we saw push through the state caused a lot of damage and we are still seeing this weather pattern continue.”

In response, the Australian Energy Market Operator ordered electricity consumption to be cut across the grid, according to a statement on Tuesday afternoon.

It came as bushfires raged across parts of western Victoria, with many people forced to flee their homes.

Melbourne was hit by heavy downpours on Tuesday (pictured: a commuter shelters from the rain)

Melbourne was hit by heavy downpours on Tuesday (pictured: a commuter shelters from the rain)

Many people were forced to flee their homes, while others were told it was 'too late to leave' and ordered to seek shelter

Many people were forced to flee their homes, while others were told it was ‘too late to leave’ and ordered to seek shelter

Hail the size of golf balls fell in Ballarat (pictured)

Hail the size of golf balls fell in Ballarat (pictured)

Residents and holidaymakers in the Grampians National Park have been told to evacuate immediately due to two raging bushfires.

Emergency warnings were issued for out-of-control fires at Bellfield and Mount Stapylton on Tuesday.

The orders to leave immediately apply to those in Halls Gap, Bellfield, Bellfield Settlement, Lake Fyans, Pomonal, Dadswells Bridge, Ledcourt, Roses Gap and Wartook.

The Mt Stapylton fire is heading towards Dadswells Bridge and Ledcourt, but conditions are ‘dangerous and unpredictable’, the emergency website said.

People affected by the fire have been told to go to Stawell, with authorities warning that the Western Highway between Horsham and the Warracknabeal-Stawell Rd junction has been closed.

The Bellfield fire is moving in a southerly direction towards Pomonal, with people affected by that fire told to go to Ararat using Ararat Halls Gap Rd.

Some 38 schools and 17 early childhood centers have closed due to the dangerous conditions.

A watch and act advisory is also issued for the whole of Melbourne and extends across Port Phillip Bay to the Bellarine and Mornington Peninsulas, with hail falling in areas.

A catastrophic fire danger rating has been declared for the Wimmera region, extreme fire danger is forecast for the Mallee, a high danger rating is in place for the rest of Victoria except for East Gippsland and there is a blanket fire ban in large parts of the state .

The wet and wild weather also hit Sydney on Tuesday afternoon, with some road closures in the western suburbs after fallen trees hit power lines

The wet and wild weather also hit Sydney on Tuesday afternoon, with some road closures in the western suburbs after fallen trees hit power lines

This is the first catastrophic rating since the Black Summer of 2019-20, which was one of the most intense and catastrophic fire seasons on record in Australia.

Meanwhile, a severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for parts of western and southern Gippsland.

Damaging winds, large hailstones and heavy rainfall could lead to flash flooding Tuesday night.

Melbourne and its surrounding suburbs were battered by rain and hail on Tuesday afternoon.

Hail the size of golf balls fell in Ballarat, while parts of Melbourne experienced major flooding.

Winds were so strong they toppled a tree in Clayton, in the south-east of the city, with its roots uprooting the footpath.

Storm damage affected the rail network with commuters experiencing long delays and bus replacement services on some lines.

The wet and wild weather also hit Sydney on Tuesday afternoon, with some road closures in the western suburbs after fallen trees hit power lines.

More to come.