Connect with us

Environment

‘In this for a while’: Bleak outlook as flood emergencies hit



There have been rescues across Victoria and Tasmania, while thousands of people have been told to evacuate, as heavy rain, flash flooding and damaging winds bring dangerous conditions across three states.

Several people were rescued from floodwaters in northern Tasmania on Thursday, as communities hit by deadly flooding six years ago faced a repeat of rising waters.

Prepare-to-evacuate warnings were issued on Thursday for people living in an area in the state’s north-west from Liena to Latrobe, plus the town of Railton, where 90 homes were at risk of inundation.

Fears were particularly high in northern Tasmania, with 24-hour rainfall forecasts of more than 300 millimetres possible on Thursday.

In Victoria, emergency crews have rescued at least five people after the state was pummelled with rain, causing flooding and thousands of power outages. At least one town, Kilmore, was underwater – with up to 70 millimetres of rain expected to fall later in the day.

There was another emergency evacuation warning north of Murray, in the NSW central-west town of Forbes. The Lachlan River is expected to exceed major flood levels late on Thursday, peaking near 10.6 metres on Friday.

Severe weather warnings were in place across northern Tasmania, central and northern Victoria and southern inland NSW, with widespread rain, combined with wet or already flooded catchments expected to bring renewed river and creek rises.

Victoria

The SES made several rescues of people who had driven through floodwaters in rural areas, including one woman stranded in Heathcote after water filled her car to her feet.

Advertisement

The SES has received more than 1000 calls for help in the past 48 hours, mainly from Swan Hill, Echuca and Seymour.

At least 100 millimetres of rain has already fallen in parts of Victoria.

The rain caused landslides at Separation Creek on the Great Ocean Road on Thursday and at Falls Creek in the alpine region on Wednesday.

Severe weather warnings have been issued in most parts of the state.

By Thursday afternoon, there were watch and act alerts for major flooding on multiple rivers, including the Campaspe in central Victoria, and the Ovens and King rivers in the state’s north-east.

Warning were expanded to include Melbourne, and north-east Victoria.

State Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said the heavy rain would reach metropolitan Melbourne on Thursday afternoon.

“We’ve had nearly 30 millimetres of rain in the last 24 hours. We’ll probably see another 20-25 millimetres on top of that,” he told the ABC.

And he warned the big wet was likely to last a while.

“There is another low developing, we will see that weather Wednesday and Thursday [next week],” Mr Crisp told Melbourne radio 3AW.

Advertisement

“The bureau is saying we will continue to see this cycle over the next six to eight weeks.

“We’ve now got a campaign flood event … we’re in this for a while.”

It was a message repeated by Premier Daniel Andrews.

“There is an element of unpredictability in this as well and there’s also a time lag. After the rain has stopped, there will still be very significant risks and waters will rise,” he said.

“That will pose a real challenge over the coming days.”

Officials have been doorknocking along the Maribyrnong in inner-Melbourne to ensure residents are on high alert, while search and rescue teams are on standby.

Nearly 10,000 homes were without power overnight, with hundreds still remaining out on Thursday afternoon.

“Powercor crews are working to restore power to about 470 homes and businesses across western Victoria,” a Powercor spokesperson said.

The State Control Centre, which manages state emergencies, said 1211 properties remained without power.

NSW

Residents of Forbes were ordered to evacuate ahead of forecast major flooding.

Advertisement

The SES issued an evacuation order for parts of the town’s north, east and west, including the central business district, to leave by 8pm Thursday.

There were 70 flood warnings across NSW, with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting a trough from the west will likely bring 65 millimetres of rain and thunderstorms to the state’s central and southern inland on Thursday and Friday.

Winds are expected to reach 90 km/h.

Senior forecaster Jonathan How said on Thursday Broken Hill had copped an overnight deluge.

“They’ve now set a new record for the highest October daily rainfall record – more than 50 millimetres overnight,” he told ABC TV.

In Forbes, SES volunteers have been filling sandbags and handing them out to residents. Local commander Rocky Walshaw said it was hard to predict how bad the flooding would be with creeks already swollen.

“Every flood is different but this one is going to be here for a long time” he said.

Search for missing man continues

Emergency services continued to search for a 63-year-old man believed to be missing in western NSW floodwaters.

He was last seen on a farm in Hillston on Tuesday.

Local police, PolAir, Police Rescue, the SES and paramedics failed to find any trace of the man on Wednesday and Thursday’s search was focused on the farm and along the Lachlan River.

Advertisement

It follows the death of a 46-year-old man, who was found in his car on Tuesday. The vehicle was fully submerged in Campbells River at Charlton.

“Motorists are reminded not to drive into any roadways covered by water due to the dangers of becoming trapped – if it’s flooded, forget it,” police said in a statement on Tuesday.

Tasmania

Several people were rescued from buses at Liffey, 40 kilometres south-west of Launceston.

It is reported that personnel from Surf Life Saving Tasmania and police rescued people from two buses on a property.

Acting Premier Michael Ferguson thanked Tasmanians for heeding safety messages.

“We’re urging Tasmanians to continue to make informed decisions and to think twice before jumping in the car and doing that job or that delivery,” he said.

Exceptionally heavy rain has prompted a prepare-to-evacuate warning for a town in north-west Tasmania, with flood peaks in parts of the state expected to be on par with deadly flooding in 2016.

About 90 homes in Railton and surrounds may be hit by floodwaters on Thursday afternoon after extensive rain across the northern half of the island state overnight.

The SES issued an emergency warning for Railton, urging people to enact their flood plans and prepare to leave.

The state’s northern half was on high alert for flash flooding, with heavy rain set to continue into Friday morning.

Advertisement

SES acting director Leon Smith said flood peaks might reach levels on a par with those in the north in mid-2016, when three people died.

“It is a very dynamic situation that we’re monitoring, but inevitably we will see flooding that will have significant consequences,” Mr Smith said.

A severe weather warning was in place for half of Tasmania, with several rivers subject to flood warnings. Evacuation centres have been set up in the north-west and many roads have been closed.

Police Assistant Commissioner Jonathan Higgins urged drivers to be careful, noting many families would be returning from school holidays.

South-west Tasmania is forecast to receive 30-60 millimetres, with 15-30 millimetres tipped in the south-east, including Hobart.

For all the latest warnings visit bom.gov.au and be sure to enable notifications for your location through the BOM weather app.

The post ‘In this for a while’: Bleak outlook as flood emergencies hit appeared first on The New Daily.





Source link

Advertisement