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Severe storm hits Victoria leaving a trail of destruction, 2 people dead and more than 200 000 homes without power, Australia

victoria-storm-flood-june-2021

At least two people died after a deep low started affecting the state of Victoria, Australia, on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Severe weather, including torrential rain, snow, and strong winds of over 120 km/h (74 mph), prompted evacuations and rescues across the state while downed power lines left more than 200 000 homes without electricity. More heavy rain is expected on Friday and Saturday. The low is expected to slowly move away on Sunday.

  • Major flood warnings are current for a few rivers in Gippsland, including the Yarra, Thompson, and Traralgon creek, with numerous minor to moderate flood warnings issued in Victoria and eastern Tasmania.
  • Residents across Gippsland are advised to stay up to date with the latest forecasts and warnings.

More than 300 mm (11.8 inches) of rain fell on parts of the region within 24 hours on Wednesday and Thursday, June 9 and 10, causing rivers to rise, particularly the Traralgon Creek, where State Emergency Services (SES) issued an evacuation notice for more than 200 households. 

"If you live, work, or are holidaying in the Traralgon Creek area you should evacuate now. Floodwaters are currently sitting above major flood level," SES warned.

Water levels of the creek increased from under 1 m (3 feet) to 5.8 m (19 feet) in around 12 hours between Wednesday and Thursday. The major flood level is 4.8 m (15.7 feet).

Several people had to be rescued by helicopter, including those trapped in their homes and others stranded in vehicles.

The emergency services received thousands of calls for assistance, most of which were for wind damage.

Downed power lines left more than 200 000 homes without power across the state. Ausnet's Steve Brown said this was the worst storm to impact our network in over 40 years, adding that some customers might not be back online until Sunday, June 13.

Victoria Police has confirmed two fatalities due to flooding. One was found in a vehicle submerged in floodwater in Woodside, South Gippsland. 

"Officers attended and confirmed that a deceased man, possibly aged in his 60s, was with the vehicle," it reported.

"A rescue team has recovered the deceased man and the circumstances surrounding his death are being investigated."

The second fatality was identified as a 20-year-old woman, who drove in the flood to show up for work. On Friday afternoon, June 11, the police found her body inside a vehicle off Maddens Bridge Road in Glenfyne.

A major flood warning is in place for Traralgon Creek as a rapid increase in water levels is expected from Friday night, with major flooding possible from Saturday morning, June 12, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said.

Widespread rain between 40 and 60 mm (1.6 and 2.4 inches), as well as gusty winds, are expected over parts of Gippsland into Saturday, likely to result in further flooding and potential damage to trees.

Featured image credit: Victoria SES

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