A 'MINI tornado' tore through Daylesford overnight, resulting in the loss of a landmark, destruction of a recreational facility, and extensive damage throughout dozens of properties.
The storm hit the region around 8pm, with Daylesford and Eganstown among the worst hit.
SES mid-west duty officer Gavin Kelly said the Hepburn crew received more than 100 calls for assistance, with some residents having to wait up to two hours for help.
“I think we’ve been exceedingly lucky, given the huge amount of timber that has been brought down,” he said.
“It looks like there has been a general significant strong wind event about 150 metres wide by a few kilometres long.
“But the amount of damage I’ve seen out there... the wind twisted off the tops of trees.”
SES unit controller David Wellings added the winds were as strong as he had ever experienced in 10 years on the job.
"It was an absolute miracle no one was injured or killed," he said.
"The shire had just as many calls as us in 15 minutes and worked closely to communicate during the storm."
Official wind speeds through the region have not been obtained because the Bureau of Meteorology does not have a weather station in the area.
But senior meteorologist Peter Blake said thunderstorms were observed in the area around that time, following the passage of a cold front that entered western Victoria during Saturday afternoon.
Reports continued to flood in online about the extent of the damage, with the landmark "monkey puzzle tree", near Daylesford Uniting Church, among the losses.
Blampied recreational facility Canoe Images also suffered extensive damage, with several tents and toilet blocks torn apart.
"We could hear the terrifying rumblings just past eight last night such as we've never heard before," an employee said.
"We saw the trees swaying fiercely and the skies an eerie brown grey. We rushed outside and heard the bell up on the tower ringing incessantly.
"We are thankful the tents were not occupied, no one got hurt and we could see no other damages.
"Now the painful task of rebuilding begins."
A roof was ripped off a stand at Hepburn Football Netball Club, and flung 150 metres and two sheds were damaged in Eganstown.
There were also reports of flying trampolines and chicken coops.
In Guildford, an Eaglehawk man was taken to hospital after two large trees fell on his vehicle.
Castlemaine's Sergeant Mark Herman said the 39-year-old man was travelling on the Midland Highway when the incident happened just before 8pm.
He said SES units were able to free the man and he was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Taradale, Faraday and Castlemaine were also affected by the storm.
Facebook feedback following the storm:
"Storm been and gone at Eganstown. Highway was blocked in many places. Went to give a hand but was enough SES, police, fire brigades. Big cleanup tomorrow . Hope everyone remained safe." - Ken Rae
"Wow. That was definitely a mini tornado hitting Daylesford. Take care peeps." - Shannon Dore
"That was one hell of a mini cyclone tornado what ever you want to call it, it's still very strange for this part of the country last one we were in was Mackay in 1990s now that was scary." - Dawn Campbell
"Tornadoes are actually very common around Yandoit/Sandon as wind rises from the plains to the north. When I was a kid two people died when their car got sucked up and thrown around at Sandon. Corrugated iron was still strewn through trees up until the '90s. Hard to actually believe... Although easier tonight." - Lyndall Jenkin
"Direct hit here in Eganstown also... lost two sheds. Driveway completely blocked. But house and cars all okay thank goodness." - Casey Halliwell
"We've got no power at Hurns Road, Blampied, starting to eat the freezer out lol" - Aaron Gore