More than 7,000 homes and businesses in northern Victoria could soon be flooded as the state’s historic state of emergency continues.
Residents in Shepparton continue to be bombarded by floodwaters as other areas begin the clean-up process after last week’s horrific deluge.
The Goulburn River could peak at around 12.1m later on Monday morning, potentially putting 7,300 homes and businesses in Shepparton, Mooroopna and Kiala at risk of being surrounded or inundated by floodwaters.
Victoria’s State Emergency Commissioner Andrew Crisp said they had received 56 rescue requests in the areas on Sunday night, some of which were still outstanding.
Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Dean Naramore said several rivers’ catchments were expected to peak on Monday.
“On the Avoca River in the Charlton area, it looks like it’s going to peak at around 8 meters today with major flooding that will cause some problems today,” he told the ABC.
“As we move further east, we see that major flooding is continuing and will continue for several days on Campaspe and the Goulburn River.
“We will see peak flooding in Echuca and Moama similar to 1993 levels.
“Shepparton is also planning to peak later today or tonight. It’s like 1974 levels, so it’s a long way back.
“There’s a lot of water on Goulburn now and it’s all going into the Murray River, so we’re worried about Echuca and Moama in the coming days.”
But he warned that heavier rainfall was “unfortunately” forecast later this week, with up to 25mm potentially hitting areas already affected by flooding such as Echuca and Shepparton.
“Bad news for our flood-affected areas … looking at widespread 25-50mm falls across much of inland NSW, northern Victoria and Queensland,” Mr Naramore said.
“It’s a lot less than what we’ve seen, but with everything being so wet and saturated right now, it’s going to cause new river levels to rise on many of our already flooded rivers.
“In particular, as we approach this time on Thursday and Friday … we may see quite a few strong thunderstorms inland for several days later this week and into the weekend.”
Mr Naramore also said “it could be a while” before the rain stops for eastern Australians.
“It looks like we’re going to get a short break on Sunday and Monday, but we’re going to have another system early next week,” he told The Today Show.
“This wet regime continues to bring widespread flooding across eastern Australia.”
Federal Emergencies Minister Murray Watt said Victoria was facing a “very serious situation”.
“From the reports I’m getting, we could be looking at up to 9,000 homes flooded in northern Victoria and potentially around 34,000 homes in Victoria either flooded or isolated,” he told the ABC.
Mr Crisp said around 300-400 homes were inundated by floodwaters in Echuca, while around 800-900 were affected in Rochester.
“Yesterday I had the opportunity to fly over Rochester. It’s depressing to be honest, there’s water everywhere,” he told the ABC.
“We will work with the Rochester community, support them and do everything we can to help them get back on their feet.”
A well-respected member of the Rochester community sadly died in his front yard during the unforgiving weather on Saturday morning.
Victorian-born Kevin Wills, 71, had lived with his wife in the High Street for years and the community was reeling from the loss.
Mr Wills’ wife was also found trapped in the property by emergency services but was rescued safely.
Victoria SES has issued more than 60 flood warnings across the state, more than 100 Australian Defense Force personnel have been deployed, while about 120 schools and 100 early learning centers are closed on Monday.
The State and Federal Governments have set up the National Resilience Center in Mickleham to provide crisis support to those in housing need.
From Tuesday next week, a facility in Mickleham will provide 250 beds for people who lost their homes in the floods.
Residents will also receive meals and other support services on-site as well as remotely.
The Commonwealth, built and owned by Mickleham, recently closed as a quarantine centre, allowing it to now open its doors to flood victims.
Emergency Management Victoria, along with Emergency Recovery Victoria and Covid-19 Quarantine Victoria, are working together to set up the facility, using existing quarantine staff and service providers to quickly get support to those who need it.
The center will act as a hub as residents will be provided with free regular transport on a provided shuttle bus to the local train station and shopping centre.
In each room provided for those in need, there will be personal hygiene items and basic necessities, and three meals a day will be provided.
Local charities are working to provide items that families may have had to leave behind after the floods, such as clothing.
The Federal Government has also made disaster relief payments to 44 flood-affected areas in Victoria, NSW and Tasmania.
In Victoria, these 23 local government areas are:
- Central Goldfields
- Great Bendigo
- Great Shepparton
- Macedonian ridges
- Mitchell Shire
- Mooney Valley
- The Northern Grampians
Australian Government disaster recovery lump sum payments are also available in Compassop, Greater Shepparton, Maribyrnong, Mitchell and Strathbogie.
There is $1,000 per adult and $400 per child in recognition of the significant losses people in these areas have suffered due to flooding.
The State Government also said on Sunday that Melbourne Water would conduct a review of the 3m wall of floodwater around Flemington Racecourse.
It will investigate claims by frustrated residents that the racecourse was spared severe flooding because the wall pushed water into the surrounding area of Maribyrnong.
“Melbourne Water will conduct a thorough review of this flood and any impact the wall has had on this flood,” Mr Andrews said.
“And they will do this work at arm’s length from the government and report on progress.”
Racing Victoria chief executive Andrew Jones told Channel 9 over the weekend that the well had led to “unintended consequences”.
“The VRC took measures to protect its property from flooding 15 years ago, which it is entitled to do. Obviously, this had unforeseen consequences for the neighboring residents,” he said.
“It is obvious that there was no intention to harm the VRK. They were trying to protect the Spring Carnival and the Melbourne Cup Carnival, which is a very important part of Victorian life and the Victorian economy, so I think it’s an unintended consequence.”
- Flash flood warning for the Avoca River
- A severe flood warning is in place for the Broken River
- Major flood warning for Campaspe River
- Severe flood warning for the Goulburn River
- A severe flood warning is in place for the Loddon River
- Severe flood warning for Seven and Castle creeks
- Flash flood warning for the Wimmera River
- Moderate Flood Warning for Barwon River
- Moderate Flood Warning for Owens and King Rivers
- Echuca and the village of Echuca (immediate evacuation)
- Bunbarta (immediate evacuation)
- Charlton (Evacuate Immediately)
- Shepparton, Muroopna, Orrwall, Murchison, Kiyala West (Too Late to Leave)
- Rochester (move to higher ground)
- Campaspe River downstream from Rochester (go to higher ground)
- Nanneella, Fairy Dell, Koyuga and Kanyapella South (go to higher ground)
- Campaspe River, Lake Epalock to Barndown (move to higher ground)
- Loddon River Loddon Weir to Kerang (go to higher ground)