Victorian communities remain on high alert for dangerous flooding, with residents in six towns urged to leave homes and get to higher ground.
Evacuation orders are in place for Rochester along the Campaspe River, Carisbrook near Maryborough and Seymour on the Goulburn River
Residents have also been instructed to leave at Maribyrnong on the Maribyrnong River, the city of Benalla on the Broken River and at Wedderburn following a breach at Skinners Flat Reservoir.
Water is already lapping at Anglers’ Tavern in Maribyrnong in Melbourne’s inner west as the swollen Maribyrnong river continues to rise. An emergency evacuation order covers about 60 homes @BreakfastNews @abcnews @abcmelbourne pic.twitter.com/tTGB3sZkcT
— Stephanie Ferrier (@FerrierSteph) October 13, 2022
First pictures from the air of #Maribyrnong (inner-city Melbourne, NW of the CBD): low-lying areas going underwater and evacuation orders in place @9NewsMelb @9NewsAUS #vicfloods #melbourneweather pic.twitter.com/oganY03vP3
— Tom Kelly (@tpwkelly) October 13, 2022
Strong, fast moving water from the dam a metre deep was expected to course through Wedderburn township via the Calder Highway, authorities said on Friday morning.
People in Rochester were told to abandon homes as floodwaters rapidly rose and were likely to inundate the area from early Friday. The Campaspe was slated to peak in the afternoon.
Emergency relief centres have been set up close to Rochester, Carisbrook and Seymour.
Those along the Campaspe from Lake Eppalock to Barnadown have also been advised to get to higher ground, while an emergency warning has been issued for Seven Creeks to Euroa.
Watch and act alerts urging people to stay indoors are widespread across Victoria.
Areas north of the Great Dividing Range were among the heaviest hit by the rain through Wednesday and Thursday and more central areas also saw significant falls, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
Between 9am and 6pm on Thursday, Pyalong recorded 62 millimetres and Avalon Station saw 60mm.
While Strathbogie North also recorded a 58mm dump on Thursday, it had copped 187mm since Wednesday morning.
The big wet was starting to clear out of western Victoria on Thursday night and forecasters predict conditions will improve for the state’s central parts and then into the east on Friday.
“Other than that rainfall over Gippsland and the eastern ranges (on Friday), the rest of the state’s really not going to see much … so, less than five millimetres for most places,” the bureau’s Bri Macpherson said on Thursday evening.
“Then over the weekend, it’s just really isolated showers most likely in the south of the state.”
Despite this, volumes of water are yet to make their way downstream through river systems.
“The peaks might not go through until (Friday) or Saturday for some of the river catchments, so even after the rain has stopped it’s important to keep an eye on the flood warnings,” Ms Macpherson said.
Earlier on Thursday, Victorian SES Chief Operations Officer Tim Wiebusch said Seymour was facing its highest flood level since 1974.
Well – we’ve been busy. As at 7:30am, in the past 24 hours we’ve responded to over 2,660 requests for assistance, with river levels still rising and many communities impacted across the state (1/2). pic.twitter.com/XYx7Byhx1d
— VICSES News (@vicsesnews) October 13, 2022
There was potential for 187 properties to be inundated and a further 279 to be isolated, he told reporters.
Authorities expected up to 700 properties in Rochester to be isolated by Friday and Shepparton to experience its worst flood in almost three decades on Saturday afternoon, with up to 600 properties isolated.
The bureau warned of damaging winds over elevated areas in the state’s central and eastern parts but they were expected to clear eastwards on Thursday evening.