BUREAU of Meteorology forecaster Peter Blake believes it is possible a mini tornado hit Ararat late Tuesday.
More than 200 Ararat homes and businesses were temporarily plunged into darkness as the storm hit about 7.30pm.
Mr Blake said it was difficult to know exactly what the freak storm was.
"It's a bit hard to be conclusive to say exactly what it was, or be specific about whether it was a mini tornado or a micro burst," he said.
He said the closest relevant weather observations the bureau had for Ararat at the time were from Mt William, in the Grampians.
"Wind speeds of 50 kilometres an hour were recorded in Mt William at 7.30pm," he said.
"It could quite likely have been stronger than that around Ararat, given the damage reported.
Mr Blake said the environment was unstable at the time, consistent with a severe weather warning the bureau issued earlier that day.
A State Emergency Services spokeswoman said there were 12 calls for help in Ararat between 7pm on Tuesday and 10.15am on Wednesday.
They centered around McLellan Street, Dean Street, Grano Street, King Street, Baird Street and Moore Street.
"The calls all related to building damage and trees down," she said.