Specialist meteorology crews worked to analyse the debris in the Geelong area over the past two days, in order to identify the nature of the “localised” storm that created devastation similar to that of a disaster zone.
“It was a tornado that hit near Geelong and caused that damage,” BOM state manager Dr Andrew Tupper said.
“There was a strong intensification of storms just as the storms got over Geelong and that resulted in that tornado forming.”
The BOM revealed winds reached speeds up to 160km/h early on Wednesday morning, with the hardest hit areas being Waurn Ponds and Mount Duneed.
The State Emergency Service (SES) received 177 calls for help, with four homes being deemed as uninhabitable, requiring residents to relocate.
The tornado was identified as a “narrow corridor” – about 60 metres wide and three kilometres long.
BOM weather services manager Peter Otto, who surveyed the impact site, said the damaging weather event was “quite rare”.
“Surveys have found evidence of tornadic impact,” Mr Otto said.
“What happened was a line of thunderstorms approached Geelong and intensified quite rapidly over about 10 minutes. And within that line of thunderstorms some cells pinched off little tornados.
“We can get strong storms like this somewhere in Victoria every year, but it’s really rare to impact such a populated area.”
Footage of the clean-up showed fences knocked down, roofs obliterated, significant structural damage to houses and windows shattered, with debris scattering gardens.
A mother suffered injuries after being sprayed by glass when her loungeroom window exploded.
While Geelong resident Simon Aitken previously told 9News he was getting ready to sell his house when the destruction struck.
“It actually sounded like a jet engine just on top of the roof,” he said.
“The garage is pretty much totally wrecked. The veranda has been all torn apart.”
Mr Otto said the tornado must have been “terribly frightening” for residents.
“There’s been impacts on their homes that will affect their lives for some time yet.”