‘Leave’: Flood warning in Victoria

Victoria’s treacherous flood crisis has continued to spread, with many residents being told to leave before nightfall.

An evacuation order is in place for Victorian residents living near a rising creek, as a second person fell victim to the state’s treacherous floodwaters.

Everyone in the Traralgon Creek area must evacuate, with major flooding possible in the town throughout the night and into Saturday morning.

It comes as police found a woman’s body inside a vehicle in floodwaters off Maddens Bridge Road in Glenfyne about 10.40am on Friday.

While the body was yet to be formally identified, police believed it was that of missing woman Nina, who went missing from Simpson on Wednesday.

She was the second victim of the floods, which caused havoc on Thursday after a man aged in his 60s was found dead in southeastern Victoria.

Traralgon Creek is currently below the minor flood level, but may reach the major flood level of 4.8m on Saturday morning.

“Renewed rapid river level rises are expected from overnight Friday, with minor to moderate flooding expected to develop early hours of Saturday,” Victoria Emergency warned.

“Major flooding is possible from early Saturday morning.

“Around 30-50mm of rainfall is expected from late Friday and across most of Saturday, with isolated higher totals possible.

“As the risk is high, it is recommended that you leave the area before nightfall.”

It is the second evacuation order in 24 hours after residents from about 200 homes in Traralgon were forced to flee about 10.30am on Thursday.

A relief centre was set up at the Traralgon basketball stadium.

A moderate flood warning is in place for the Yarra River at Coldstream, after it was previously at an emergency level.

The Yarra River catchment has received rainfall averaging about 4mm in the Upper Yarra region and about 1mm in the Lower Yarra region since 9am on Thursday.

The level at Yarra Glen is currently peaking around 4.7m, exceeding the moderate flood level of 4.6m.

The level at Christmas Hills is at 2.25m and is expected to peak above the minor flood level of 3m on Saturday.

Warrandyte’s level is at 1.85m and steady. It is expected to peak about 3m on Saturday evening.

“Moderate flooding in the Yarra River catchment is expected to cause substantial inundation in the rural and/or urban areas, possible isolation of some properties and disruption to traffic,” Victoria Emergency warned.

Victoria State Emergency Service chief officer of operations Tim Wiebusch on Friday said there was no respite on the way just yet.

“The challenge for the community and Traralgon is that while the water has receded and the Princes Highway is open, we do expect up to another 100mm of rain later today and throughout the night,” he told reporters.

“The advice that we have is that it will result in a renewed major flooding, and we do expect to be reissuing an evacuation order for those communities sometime early this afternoon.”

Mr Wiebusch said weather forecasters were likely to see another 15-25mm of rain across the southern parts of Victoria and into Gippsland, and 40-60mm across the western and central catchments.

“We can’t emphasise enough, stay in touch with your emergency broadcast, get the latest information from the VicEmergency website, and stay in touch with the Vic traffic website for latest road closures.”

SES crews have responded to 7400 requests for help in the past 48 hours, as strong wind gusts and heavy rainfall battered the state on Wednesday night and throughout Thursday.

It caused hundreds of trees to fall across power lines, leaving 121,000 households across Victoria still without power.

And it could take days for power to be restored to some homes.

Power supplier AusNet warned it may not be until next week that some homes were reconnected after the network suffered extensive damage.

Meanwhile, the tap water in Trentham – the town west of Melbourne that was completely cut off by fallen trees – was warned to be undrinkable.

“What we will see in the next 24 hours in terms of the flooding is threats on the Thompson River at Sale, with 30 properties that have already been door knocked and will likely come in threat of flooding there,” Mr Wiebusch said.

“On the outskirts of Melbourne, in the upper reaches of the Yarra River, we are also going to see major flooding.

“The Melba Highway and the road from Healesville to Yarra Glen has been closed this morning.

“We expect to see the latter of floodwater come through the flood plain. That will see the likes of the racecourse, and around 20 other properties, come under threat from those flood waters.”

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