“The greatest risk is towards the coast – and we’ve already seen lightning activity around Cape Otway – but there’s risk everywhere in southern Victoria,” he said.
“That would be the most likely method of bringing the strong winds.”
Weather warnings are in place for most of the state’s south.
Melbourne, particularly the eastern suburbs, can expect up to 4mm of rain through isolated showers.
The wild winds, well before the expected afternoon change, forced the Health Department to close drive-through COVID-19 testing sites at Casey Fields and Pakenham Recreation Reserve.
Both were open marquees that could be blown away by strong winds and staff were also having trouble writing down details while out in the open, it said in a statement.
The department directed people in those areas to alternative sites nearby, including a walk-through site at Clyde Recreation Reserve football pavilion on Pattersons Road in Clyde. It is open daily from 9am to 4pm.
There is also a walk-through site at 7 Gibb Street in Berwick which is open from 9.30am to 4pm and another drive-through site at 20 Woods Street in Beaconsfield which is open from 8am to 5pm.