Victoria, Tasmania, Australia weather: More residents evacuated, flood waters expected to peak


Victoria’s flood disaster has claimed its first fatality with emergency workers making the grisly find of a body floating in a flooded yard in the state’s north.

Police confirmed a man was found dead in floodwaters in the backyard of a High Street, Rochester home at 9:30am on Saturday.

‘It is my sad duty to have to confirm that a 71-year-old man has been found deceased in the backyard of his property in Rochester,’ Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said at a press conference on Saturday morning.

‘We will stand with that family and all families affected by this but it just brings home for all of us that this is serious, this is potentially very, very dangerous… 

‘Hopefully that sends a broader message of just how serious this is and that is why we are all working as hard as we possibly can to make sure people are safe.’

Evacuation warnings remain for Maroopna, Shepparton, Kialla and Murchison (Pictured, residents preparing sandbags in Shepparton)

Mr Andrews said 466 properties are flooded with water above the floorboards and a further 500 are currently isolated. More than 350 rescues had been carried out in the past 24 hours.

Hundreds of homes in Rochester were overwhelmed by the flooded Campaspe River, one of dozens of waterways to burst their banks and send northern Victorian towns underwater. 

The River at reached a peak of 115.7 AHD on Friday night, which is 300mm above the previous record set in January 2011. 

The tragedy comes as the list of Victorian towns facing evacuation grows after major flooding across the state which is expected to last up to six weeks.

Victoria's flood disaster turned fatal with police confirming the body of a man was found dead in floodwaters in the backyard of a Rochester home. Pictured SES personnel search floodwaters at Maribyrnong, Melbourne

Victoria’s flood disaster turned fatal with police confirming the body of a man was found dead in floodwaters in the backyard of a Rochester home. Pictured SES personnel search floodwaters at Maribyrnong, Melbourne

Police confirmed a man was found dead in floodwaters in the backyard of a High Street, Rochester home at 9:30am on Saturday. Hundreds of homes in the central Victorian town were overwhelmed from Friday (pictured, a car in Bendigo)

Police confirmed a man was found dead in floodwaters in the backyard of a High Street, Rochester home at 9:30am on Saturday. Hundreds of homes in the central Victorian town were overwhelmed from Friday (pictured, a car in Bendigo)

Swollen rivers across Victoria are expected to bring flooding to the state for up to six weeks. Pictured, Beechworth Woolshed Falls near Wangaratta

Swollen rivers across Victoria are expected to bring flooding to the state for up to six weeks. Pictured, Beechworth Woolshed Falls near Wangaratta

But time available for the massive clean-up and recovery efforts across the state look set to be hampered as another 100mm of rainfall is predicted for the beleaguered eastern states in coming days. 

The weather office said rain and thunderstorms developing in South Australia and inland Queensland would bring ‘much more widespread’ rainfall and ‘renewed flooding’ back to the south-east from Wednesday.

Early on Saturday morning thousands of people at Charlton and Wangaratta, north of Melbourne, were ordered to evacuate immediately amid fears rivers are yet to peak with more much water coming downstream.

Victoria's northern towns were worst hit, but the flooding hit the centre of Melbourne too. Rescue workers use an inflatable dinghy to rescue people from floodwaters in Maribyrnong

Victoria’s northern towns were worst hit, but the flooding hit the centre of Melbourne too. Rescue workers use an inflatable dinghy to rescue people from floodwaters in Maribyrnong

Dozens of horses had to be rescued from floodwaters at Mangalore on Friday (pictured)

Dozens of horses had to be rescued from floodwaters at Mangalore on Friday (pictured)

A further warning was issued for residents along Melbourne’s Maribyrnong River for anyone to evacuate who hasn’t already and that ‘returning to your home … may still be unsafe’.

Maribyrnong MP Bill Shorten said it was the worst the river has flooded in 50 years.

The Ovens river at Wangaratta has already reached 12.8 metres and could rise further.

At Charlton major flooding of the Avoca River is expected to affect the town for up to five days. A peak of 7.8 metres is expected there on Saturday evening. 

The weather office said rain and thunderstorms developing in South Australia and inland Queensland would bring 'much more widespread' rainfall and 'renewed flooding' back to the south-east from Wednesday

The weather office said rain and thunderstorms developing in South Australia and inland Queensland would bring ‘much more widespread’ rainfall and ‘renewed flooding’ back to the south-east from Wednesday

Floodwaters  inundate the suburb of Maribyrnong after the Maribyrnong River burst its banks following two days of heavy rain

Floodwaters  inundate the suburb of Maribyrnong after the Maribyrnong River burst its banks following two days of heavy rain 

The warning for Wangaratta applied to people living around the Parfitt Road levee system because of the major flooding occurring on the Ovens River.

Emergency evacuation orders were in force for several communities, including Rochester along the Campaspe River, low-lying parts of Benalla on the Broken River gateway, Murchison along the Goulburn River, and south-west of Shepparton. 

Victoria’s SES fielded almost 3,600 calls for help in the 48 hours to 6pm Friday and rescued more than 230 people across the state in two days.

Hundreds of homes in Rochester were overwhelmed by the flooded Campaspe River, one of dozens of waterways to burst their banks and send northern Victorian towns underwater

Hundreds of homes in Rochester were overwhelmed by the flooded Campaspe River, one of dozens of waterways to burst their banks and send northern Victorian towns underwater

The aftermath of flooding across Victoria left many towns underwater, and the weather office says more heavy rain is headed back to eastern Australia in coming days

The aftermath of flooding across Victoria left many towns underwater, and the weather office says more heavy rain is headed back to eastern Australia in coming days

“There is major flooding occurring in multiple catchments right across the state, (and) some communities will move more towards relief and recovery sooner as waters start to recede,” SES spokesman Jamie Devenish told AAP.

“A lot of those northern catchments ultimately flow into the Murray, so (for) the Murray River we’re probably looking at a protracted flood event for the next four to six weeks.

Thousands of residents in towns across the state remained on high alert as Vic Emergency warned them to move to higher ground immediately.

Victoria SES’s Tim Wiebusch said on Saturday that evacuation warnings remain for Maroopna, Shepparton, Kialla and Murchison. 

‘Now is the time to leave, Mr Wiebusch said. ‘We are going to see flood levels on the Goulburn where it meets at Shepparton with the Brown and Seven Creeks that is equivalent to 1974. 

‘These are record flood levels and over the coming days, all of this water will continue to move towards the Murray River.’

He warned residents of Echuca on the NSW-Victoria border that further peaks of the Murray River must be expected. 

Shepparton to evacuate 

Shepparton – areas ordered to evacuate

If you are located in properties listed in the areas below, it is recommended you Evacuate Immediately.

From the river along Daldy Rd east to the Barmah-Shepparton Rd then south to the transmission lines crossing the highway then west and south to Wanganui Rd; across to Mercury Ct then south on the Numurkah Rd to Halpin Cres; then west up to Furze Ave, along Newton Cres, up to Hicken Cres to Fehey St down to Balaclava Rd across to Cowrie St, up to Alambie St then down to The Blvd; follow The Blvd down to Quinan Pde to the Midland Hwy. down Welsford St to the railway line. North up the railway line to Swallow St then down to Haves St then down Hare St, Sanderson St, Wilmot Rd, Bradford Rd, Palmer Rd to Broken River Drive. Across to the GV Hwy across to forest Rd, down to Settlers Dr and across to the Goulburn River.

There is also an area bounded by Kitties Rd, the river, Wanganui Rd and west of Kingfisher Dve, Pelican Crt and Curlew Pl that should remain unaffected however they will be isolated by waters to the east and north.

There are properties within these areas that may not be directly impacted with street flooding only.

 

‘The first peak is later today into Sunday, from the Campaspe River and then the Murray River midweek to the end of the week, he said. 

Heavy rainfall across Victoria saw dozens of rivers burst their banks leading to 3,600 calls for help from the SES

Heavy rainfall across Victoria saw dozens of rivers burst their banks leading to 3,600 calls for help from the SES

Debris is left on a road in northern Tasmania after floodwaters subsided

Debris is left on a road in northern Tasmania after floodwaters subsided

The worst hit areas were north of Melbourne, but swollen rivers from heavy rainfall on Thursday meant also meant flooding for northern Tasmania and inland New South Wales. 

Across the state thousands of residents were already bracing for enormous clean-ups as governments bolstered crisis accommodation.

The federal and state governments agreed to use the recently retired $580million Mickleham quarantine facility as emergency accommodation.

The facility will reopen early next week for 250 people with crisis accommodation available for six to eight weeks, but its actual use will depend on demand, the Victorian government confirmed.

Mr Andrews said on Saturday that 3,000 applications had been made by Victorians for emergency payments.

The Premier said 344 roads were out of action in the state.

‘Major roads are assessed twice per day. There is a number of urgent repair works that have already started.’

At the inland NSW town of Forbes, 2,200 residents and 250 homes were affected, the SES said.

The Lachlan River reached major flood level in the central-west town on Friday, with access to its business centre cut off. 

NSW SES southern zone commander Benjamin Pickup said the flood focus was on the Lachlan River and the Murrumbidgee River near Wagga Wagga, with residents told to get ready to evacuate at nearby Narrandera and other low-lying areas.

The Victorian town of Seymour was underwater on Friday with Shepparton set to be hit with major floods on Saturday (pictured)

The Victorian town of Seymour was underwater on Friday with Shepparton set to be hit with major floods on Saturday (pictured)

Thousands of homes have been inundated by floods after rain on Thursday (pictured, flooding in regional Victoria)

Thousands of homes have been inundated by floods after rain on Thursday (pictured, flooding in regional Victoria)

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Jonathan How told Daily Mail Australia Tasmania, Victoria and NSW would only get ‘a few days of reprieve’.

He said a weather system developing ‘will start to produce showers and thunderstorms across South Australia and inland Queensland from Tuesday and then extend to the rest of the east coast from Wednesday to Saturday.’

‘This will be much more widespread,’ he warned.

‘So we will see showers all the way from central northern Queensland, down to Tasmania and particularly with this, we will see thunderstorms as well.

‘So expecting widespread falls which could produce renewed flooding for some parts of the south-east and the east.’

Mr How said heaviest rainfall is predicted for south-east Queensland and northern NSW.

He said that region will see between 50 and 100mm of rainfall though further south is still vulnerable to heavy local rainfall likely to come with thunderstorms.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk