“It’s quite a difficult number to understand the impact it has on a large part of our community,” Sully told ABC radio
“Even though we were able to get some warnings and the community did their best to try to minimize it, the level of flooding that we’re seeing has been almost unstoppable.”
Shepparton MP Suzanne Sheed said she was concerned about the town of Muroopna, which had been completely cut off from Shepparton by floodwaters, with Muroopna residents now unable to access a hospital if they needed urgent care.
SES Superintendent Tim Wiebusch said the flooded Goulburn River in Shepparton was expected to peak at around 12.20 meters on Monday morning, putting 7,300 homes at risk of flooding or being cut off.
If the water rises further, he warned, another 1,600 houses will be at risk of flooding. More than 400 Victorian roads, many in the state’s north, are already closed.
“This will be our most significant impact today and into tomorrow morning,” Wiebusch said Sunday.
“The Goulburn River peaked around Muroopna and Shepparton last night where the dam was closed, but we expect the maximum peak to be around 12.2 meters early tomorrow morning. At 12.2 meters we expect 7,300 properties to be surrounded and some inundated by floodwaters.
“We could see about 2,500 properties that saw flooding above floor level. If it grows another 1.1 meters to 12.3 meters. We could see another 1,600 homes at risk from this major flood.”
Wiebusch said the biggest flood casualty in Australia was people trying to drive through the floodwaters.
There have been more than 450 rescues since the flood began on Wednesday and 88 rescues in the last 24 hours.
In the town of Echuca on the Murray River, where locals built a dam out of earth that divided the town, the Campospe River was expected to crest at 96.2 metres, meaning around 1,000 properties would be surrounded by floodwaters, including some inundated.
Vic Emergency warned that the worst was yet to come. The Murray River at Echuca Harbor is likely to exceed the major flood level of 94.4 meters above sea level on Monday and could reach 95 meters on Wednesday or Thursday, similar to the 1993 flood level.
Wiebush warned that the Murray River would peak above major flood level.
“We expect the same number of facilities to be at risk again due to severe flooding for at least three to four days,” he said.
Premier Daniel Andrews warned recovery work would take a long time as he confirmed Melbourne Water was investigating whether the construction of a wall at Flemington Racecourse had worsened flooding in Maribyrnong.
Thousands of people were left without power after floodwaters in the Goulburn River breached Powercorp’s dam and reached the level at its substation in the Muroopna area, making it unsafe to continue powering the site.
“As a result, we de-energized the substation this morning,” the energy company said in a statement.
“At this stage, approximately 5,954 customers will remain without power until we are able to restore power to the site.”
Department for Transport spokesman Andrew Crook warned on ABC radio that many roads around the affected towns would also be impassable and unpredictable.
“Flood water situations can change quickly, so don’t necessarily think you can navigate closed roads to drive through these areas,” he said.
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