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Severe storms cross Melbourne to regions

Emergency services are dealing with dozens of calls for help after severe storms crossed Melbourne, bringing down trees and causing minor flooding.

The SES has received more than 40 calls for assistance, as households deal with minor flooding, fallen trees and building damage, but it’s expecting more calls as the storms move into Gippsland on Thursday night.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s Richard Russell says much of the Gippsland region will see heavy rain and large hail.

“It’s been pretty significant through that part of the world,” he said.

The storm that hit Melbourne intensified around Melton on Thursday afternoon and tracked through the western suburbs before moving east.

Several suburbs including Gardiners Creek and Keilor saw more than 10 millimetres of rain in under 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, an alert for potentially deadly thunderstorm asthma conditions has been issued for Victoria’s east, with asthma and hay fever sufferers in those areas advised to carry their puffer at all times and move inside.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has warned there is a high risk of epidemic thunderstorm asthma for west and south Gippsland.

The Department of Health and Human Services said a large number of people in those areas could suddenly develop asthma symptoms due to a combination of high pollen levels and an unexpected thunderstorm with strong winds.

The situation is being monitored closely by health and emergency services.

It comes just three days after a “code red” was declared by Ambulance Victoria, the same level reached during an episode of thunderstorm asthma four years ago.

Ten people died during or soon after the thunderstorm asthma event in Melbourne on November 21, 2016, with about 1400 people also treated in hospital.

As paramedics dealt with a surge of non-urgent cases on Monday night, Ambulance Victoria told people not to call triple zero unless it was an emergency and instead contact Nurse on Call or visit their GP.

Those same services should be accessed by asthma or hay fever sufferers seeking medical advice, but triple zero should still be called if someone stops breathing or is having an asthma attack with no reliever puffer nearby.

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