Major flooding was expected in the Victorian city of Sale this morning, October 6, 2023 (LT), as the Thomson River approached the severe flood level. Residents were advised not to return home for 12 to 24 hours and to seek higher ground immediately.
The Thomson River is approaching a significant level of 3 m (9.8 feet) and is projected to exceed the major flood level of 4 m (13.1 feet) by noon. Residents who have yet to evacuate the city are now strongly advised to move to the highest ground accessible. People who have already evacuated have been informed that they may not be able to return to their homes for an estimated 12 to 24 hours.
Beyond Sale, moderate flooding is occurring along the Ovens, Mitchell, Yarra, and Wonangatta rivers. Residents in these locations are also being directed to seek higher ground. Specifically, residents in Tinamba, Tinamba West, Newry, and the surrounding areas have received warnings that it is unsafe to return to their homes, possibly until midday.
According to one resident of Newry, “We had about 10 minutes before it went through the shed and then it just rose. The roar through here was just insane.” Such eyewitness accounts paint a stark picture of the rapid rise in water levels, reinforcing the severity of the situation.
The Macalister River, meanwhile, is expected to fall below the moderate flood level today. This presents a slight reprieve in contrast to the escalating situation along the Thomson River in Sale.
Strong winds and heavy rains over Victoria started on October 3, forcing the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) to issue Severe Weather Warnings for damaging winds and heavy rainfall. The most significant flooding was expected in Gippsland.
Concurrent with the flooding, Victoria is facing another threat in the form of ongoing Gippsland fires. A major bushfire near Briagolong has engulfed 16 500 ha (40 773 acres) and, as of last night, was not yet under control. However, the warning level for this fire has been downgraded to “stay informed.” Another fire near Loch Sport has consumed 2 700 ha (6 672 acres).
1 Major flooding expected in Victoria as communities warned not to return home – 9 News – October 6, 2023
Featured image credit: 9 News Australia (stillshot)
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