Torrential downpour causes chaos as haze remains
A deluge has delivered a month's worth of rainfall in 20 minutes in parts of Geelong after severe thunderstorms struck the region.
Flash flooding and hail was reported around Geelong after storms starting popping up in eastern parts of the region just after 1pm, while the city and surrounding suburbs were at the centre of the action just after 2pm Wednesday.
Avalon Airport experienced a 46mm deluge in 30 minutes - more than the average January rainfall of 32mm - and recorded a 113km/h wind gust at the height of the storm.
More than 11mm of rain fell at Geelong Racecourse -which reached a top temperature of 36.8C today - between 2-3pm as hail and rain bucketed down across the region.
By 3.20pm, SES units had been called to 14 call-outs for assistance across the Barwon South West Region, with the majority of the call-outs for reports of flooding.
That included Body Pleasure Piercing in Geelong, where SES volunteers helped bail water from the shop after it flooded due to an overflowing drain.
Cars also splashed through water across the road on Barwon Tce at South Geelong.
But the rain has appeared to do little to improve the region's air quality, with conditions still considered "hazardous" at 3pm according to the EPA.
EARLIER: Geelong residents will get a breath of fresh air tomorrow thanks to storm activity this afternoon.
But Bureau of Meteorology forecasters have warned the reprieve from the haze that has gripped the city will only be brief, with smoke expected to return by Saturday.
Mr Dickson said isolated showers could see some areas get up to 40mm, while others would receive as little as 1mm.
"There will be some rain around as the trough moves through and (storm activity) by about 5-6pm," Mr Dickson said.
"Most likely it will be hit and miss.
"With the build up of humidity across the state there is the potential for some heavy rainfall. It could be heavy, but a couple kilometres away you may only get a few spits."
Mr Dickson said winds would move smoke away from Geelong by Thursday morning, bringing clearer conditions until it likely returns on Saturday.
Victoria's chief health officer Brett Sutton said air quality across Melbourne and central Victoria would improve, while eastern Victoria would still have high levels of smoke for the foreseeable future.
At 11am Geelong's air quality was rated very poor, which again dropped to hazardous by midday.
Mr Sutton said Victorians should continue to take precautions by reducing exposure to smoke and limiting time spent exercising outdoors.
According to the World Air Quality Index, Geelong briefly had the worst air quality in the nation at 9pm Monday, sitting at an AQI rating of 475.
A Barwon Health spokesman said the hospital's emergency department experienced a small spike in smoke related presentations in the late afternoon to early evening yesterday.
Apollo Bay, Wye River, Aireys Inlet, Anglesea, Torquay and Barwon Heads are closed.
The City of Greater Geelong has closed Kardinia Aquatic Centre, Lara Aquatic Centre
Eastern Beach and children's pool and has stopped patrols at outdoor pools or Eastern Beach.
"We advise against swimming at Eastern Beach until air quality improves and lifeguard patrols resume," a spokesman said.