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Record rainfall leads to widespread flooding, evacuations in Victoria, Australia

Record rainfall leads to widespread flooding, evacuations in Victoria, Australia

Following heavy rain over the weekend, major flood warnings have been issued across Victoria, prompting residents of Yea, Seymour, and Rochester to evacuate as authorities and emergency services respond to widespread flooding and record rainfall.

Residents of regional Victorian towns Yea, Seymour, and Rochester have been told to evacuate following major flood warnings issued due to heavy rain over the weekend.

The state’s north town of Rochester received about 125 mm (4.9 inches) of rain on January 7, breaking a 120-year daily rainfall record. Flood levels around the township are expected to reach 114.8 m (376.6 feet) by early Tuesday, January 9 — slightly lower than the devastating 2022 floods but still significant. In Seymour, the river level is anticipated to exceed the 1993 flood level.

Central Victoria’s Heathcote recorded 180 mm (7 inches) in 24 hours — more than three months’ worth of rain in just 24 hours.

Redesdale recorded more than 117 mm (4.6 inches) in 24 hours, setting a new daily record for any month since 1901, while Bendigo recorded 92 mm (3.6 inches) of rain, breaking a 90-year record.

The State Emergency Service (SES) has received 1 200 calls for assistance, many related to home damage. 38 rescues were performed in 24 hours, mostly involving individuals who drove through floodwaters.

Residents in several Yea streets were told it was too late to evacuate and were advised to shelter in the highest location possible. Relief centers have been established in Bendigo, Seymour, Yea, and Echuca to support those displaced or affected by the floods.

Looking ahead, the flooding is expected to move north and northeast, affecting towns like Kialla, Mooroopna, and Shepparton with moderate to severe flooding.

The King Valley and nearby Wangaratta in the north-east, as well as Loddon-Avoca River catchment areas in the north-west, are on alert for potential flooding. Minor flood warnings are in place for the Yarra and Maribyrnong Rivers in Melbourne, and a landslide has cut off Mount Dandenong Tourist Road in Ferny Creek.

Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan has urged residents in flood-affected areas to heed emergency advice, stay updated through the Vic Emergency app or website, and prepare for recovery efforts as the weather clears.

References:

1 Record rains hit Victoria with flooding set to continue around the state – ABC – January 8, 2024

2 Major flood warning issued as residents of Victorian towns Yea and Seymour told to evacuate after heavy rainfall in the state – Sky News – January 8, 2024

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