“We’re going to get another hit,” he said.
Williams said the Campaspe River will reach significant flood levels, even with the most conservative forecast. He said flooding could start on Tuesday or Wednesday, but the wet weather could last eight to 12 weeks.
“If we get a third or fourth hit, it’s going to break a lot of people,” he said.
Rochester, prone to flooding was flooded last week how heavy falls caused the Goulburn River to burst its banks. Emergency warnings were temporarily silenced as cleanup began.
Williams said the city is in dire need of temporary housing, and many homes have become unlivable.
Emergency warnings for Echuca and Kerango remain active on Saturday as the Murray and Loddon rivers continue to rise, with the latter expected to peak today.
Local residents of Kerang are increasingly confident that the town will avoid severe flooding after the Loddon River in nearby south Appin – the flood barometer in Kerang – peaked on Friday without causing significant flooding.
The Murray River at Echuca reached significant flood stage on Friday with a 95m peak expected as early as Sunday. But Miriam Bradbury of the Bureau of Meteorology said the river was “very close to that peak level at the moment”.
Murray River Council Mayor Chris Bilkey said Today is the weekend that the local people of Echuca were also confident a hastily built 2.5 kilometer long dam around the city would protect it from the rise of the river.
“The river rose again last night. [It has] go up three, four, five inches, maybe. We are confident that the dams around the city will survive,” Bilky said.
Data from the Bureau of Meteorology showed that at 7am the river level had risen to 94.76 meters – 19 centimeters higher than at the same time on Friday.
Bradbury said there were still showers over flooded northern Victoria on Friday and a second front would bring more widespread rain across the state from Sunday.
“This is expected to have further impacts on our floodplains, unfortunately, and could cause further river levels to rise,” Bradbury said.
“We saw a number of high waterfalls [on Friday], mainly in more southern areas. So down towards Maryborough, Ballarat, Bendigo, not further north to the Kerang, Rochester and Echuca areas.’
An emergency warning telling residents it is too late to leave Barma and Lower Moira on the Murray River near Echuca remains active.
SES NSW Chief Superintendent Ken Murphy told the ABC on Saturday he was concerned about flooding in Maama, which is linked to the Victoria town of Echuca by the Murray River, but Friday’s storms also caused 4,000 people in north-west New South Wales are to be warned to evacuate.
It is still too early to return to Bunbartah – north of Shepparton – while Burtt in Victoria’s north-west is under a large emergency warning area due to flooding of the Loddon River.
The SES reported 331 calls for help, including 100 related to flash flooding, in the past 24 hours to 6am on Saturday morning – including one in the suburb of Altona in Melbourne’s west.
Victoria SES chief Tim Wiebusch told Channel Nine on Saturday morning that 70 calls had been received from the south-west Victorian city of Hamilton as the area received up to 70 millimeters of rain in a matter of hours.
The heaviest overnight falls were recorded in She Oaks – a small area 47km west of Melbourne between Geelong and Ballarat – where 85 millimeters fell.
The highest totals in Melbourne were at the city’s airport, which recorded 31 millimetres, while Geelong itself received 45 millimetres.
Bradbury said Melbourne’s central businesses and eastern suburbs had escaped the worst of the falls on Friday, but there was a chance of some storms developing on Saturday morning before the front moved east and the threat of heavy rain diminished.
A severe weather warning for the Mallee, North Country, North Central and Wimmera areas west and north of Melbourne was lifted early on Friday morning as the thunderstorms died down.
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