Storms lash Victoria as bushfires continue to burn

Rain and hail have lashed Victoria, sparking almost 1500 calls for assistance with more severe weather on the way as bushfires continue.

The State Emergency Service received 1453 calls for assistance since Sunday morning, more than 1000 of them for building damage.

Another 139 callouts were for flooding, while 118 were for trees that had fallen down on roads.

Rain fell hardest in East Gippsland, with 56.6mm falling at Mount Elizabeth and 55mm at Mount Wellington.

In Melbourne, the northeast and inner east were hit with severe thunderstorms, including giant hail.

Most areas copped between 10 and 15mm of rain, while Doncaster received 27mm.

There are 14 bushfires still burning in Victoria, mostly at an advice level.

An emergency warning was issued on Sunday evening for a bushfire in central Victoria threatening lives and homes in Pastoria, but it was downgraded to a "watch and act" early on Monday.

As the effort to put out the remaining fires continues, a severe weather warning is in place for central and eastern parts of the state, including fire-ravaged East Gippsland.

Widespread falls of between 10 and 30mm are expected, but some areas could see isolated totals of up to 80mm or 100mm.

The wet conditions could lead to flash flooding in some areas, but the weather bureau says rainfall is unlikely to put out remaining blazes.

The weather comes as up to 70 people are preparing to return to Mallacoota on Monday, where bushfires had trapped thousands on the beach.

Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville says people who were reuniting with family members that stayed in the stranded East Gippsland coastal town were the priority.

"300 people want to fly back in and that'll be our first priority and we're looking at around 70 people to fly back in (Monday)," Ms Neville said.

The government is also hoping to clear roads to the isolated community so people could access properties and vehicles abandoned due to the fires.

Victoria's bushfires have so far burnt more than 1.5 million hectares, mainly in the state's East Gippsland and northeast regions.

Across the state, 396 homes have been destroyed and more than 600 outbuildings including sheds have also been razed.

Five men have also died during the fires.

 

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