One dead as severe winds batter Victoria

By AAP Newswire

A day-long tempest has left Victoria with severe whiplash, causing one death and prompting hundreds of emergency service calls.

A Holden Commodore was struck by a falling 100m tree on the Warburton Highway at Lilydale on Friday, killing a 33-year-old man behind the wheel.

The driver died at the scene and traffic was blocked in both directions as police investigated the fatality.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning for most of Victoria, with gusts peaking at 111km/h at Mt William in the state's west and forecast to reach up to 125km/h.

By mid-afternoon the SES said they had received 320 requests for assistance within 24 hours, including 235 fallen trees, 73 cases of building damage, five floods, and three rescues.

Some 5200 customers were without power across the state according to Victoria's major suppliers.

Senior forecaster Steven McGibbony told reporters the winds in Melbourne are expected to ease late on Friday.