Severe thunderstorms produced very large hail and several tornadoes in the Victoria region, in and near Melbourne, Australia on Christmas Day. The storms struck late in the afternoon. The photo above shows strong rotation within a thunderstorm as it passed near the RAAF Base at Sale (to the East of Melbourne), by mid-evening.
The first sighting of a tornado was reported around 4pm local time near Fiskville, to the West of Melbourne. The corresponding radar image from the Bureau of Meteorology (below) showed a very pronounced hook echo in association with what we here in the U.S. would call a supercell thunderstorm (inside red circle in the upper left quadrant of the image):
Damage was widespread across the region, both from tornadoes and/or damaging winds:
...and very large hail:
Take a look at the size of this monster hailstone captured (in a near one in a million, mid-air shot) by local resident Alan Beattie:
Indeed, I've seen more damage photos from hail across the region than tornadoes or high winds. The photo below shows extensive damage to this gentleman's car (courtesy of the Herald Sun):
The hail was so prevalent across parts of the region that it created a white Christmas for some:
While tornadoes and damaging hail may seem rather odd to us here in the U.S. on Christmas day, it is actually Summer "down under" in Australia right now. A storm of this severity is, however, unusual for Christmas day, even where the season is warmer and more unstable.
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