Thousands of homes impacted in Victoria’s north as swollen rivers set to reach their peaks
More than 7500 homes could be impacted by potentially record-breaking flooding in Victoria’s north as rivers continue to swell and communities brace for predicted peaks.
The Australian Defence Force is increasing its assistance as Shepparton prepares to exceed the 1974 flood level on Monday and Echuca readies for a double wave.
Meanwhile another storm system has been forecast to develop over central Australia on Tuesday, bringing widespread rain and thunderstorms to already soaked eastern states by mid next week.
Victoria: Rivers to peak
The SES helps a family flee the high water in Shepparton. Photo: AAP
The Goulburn River at Shepparton is expected to hits its peak on Monday at 12.2 metres which is higher than the 1974 flood level of 12.09m, the weather bureau says.
Meanwhile the town of Echuca faces two flood peaks — one expected on Sunday night at 96.2m and another on Monday or Tuesday.
The border town’s troubles stem from the Campaspe River, which was forecast to peak with major flooding higher than in January 2011, and also the Murray River which may hit 95m major flooding.
Emergency warnings remain in place for multiple areas, including Shepparton, Murchison, Echuca, Kialla, Mooroopna, Orrvale, Charlton Barnadown and Elmore.
The Goulburn River at Shepparton reached 11.88 metres and was still rising late on Sunday.
Images show buildings in the middle of town surrounded by a vast inland sea of brown muddy water, and residents using sandbags to protect properties.
Floods lap homes in suburban Shepparton. Photo: AAP
The Loddon River at Kerang is expected to peak on Tuesday and into Wednesday, with levels similar to the January 2011 record-breaking floods.
A warning has also been issued for the Wimmera River, with Horsham residents warned major flooding is possible on Monday and into Tuesday.
The Campaspe River at Barnadown, Rochester Town and Echuca had peaked on Monday morning with major flooding occurring — higher than in 2011.
The Victorian State Emergency Service has received over 4750 calls for help, including more than 500 flood rescue requests, since Wednesday when heavy rainfall lashed the state.
The ADF will give more assistance in Victoria. Photo: AAP
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced on Sunday four more areas were eligible to apply for federal financial assistance.
The addition of the Central Coast, Coonamble, Goulburn-Mulwaree and Parkes bring the total number of NSW local government areas with assistance available to 31.
“It’s heartbreaking to think that for many people this is the third or fourth time in 18 months that their lives have been disrupted by a natural disaster of this magnitude,” Mr Albanese said of the floods that swept across Victoria, NSW and Tasmania in recent days.
Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said it had been a challenging week with “devastating impacts”.
Residents will have to wait until the water recedes before the authorities can start impact assessments.
Disaster recovery payments have been made available to residents in 23 local government areas and a 250-bed camp for displaced people will be opened at the former COVID-19 quarantine facility in Mickleham.
But unlike when the centre was a quarantine facility, residents will be free to move around and socialise with each other, and come and go as they please.
Each room comes complete with toiletries and other necessities, and residents will be provided with three meals each day, and snacks and drinks on arrival.
Traffic is cut off on the Goulburn Valley Highway. Photo: AAP
Charities will provide assistance with items like clothing that families may have had to leave behind or lost during the floods.
About 100 ADF personnel have also been deployed to help with evacuations and sandbagging in the worst-hit areas.
Major flood warnings are also in place for the Broken, Avoca and Loddon rivers, and the Seven and Castle creeks.
NSW: More storms coming
Further rain may hit the NSW coast as people living in already saturated catchment areas prepare for more water to flow to flood-stricken communities.
Showers and storms could develop on the east coast on Sunday evening, the Bureau of Meteorology says, although inland areas that have received the bulk of recent rainfall are expected to be spared.
But another storm system is forecast to develop over central Australia on Tuesday, bringing widespread rain and thunderstorms to eastern states by mid-next week.
Residents in parts of Narrandera, on the Murrumbidgee River in the Riverina region, have been told to leave due to moderate flooding and warned they may become isolated if they remain beyond 6pm on Sunday.
The river’s main flood peak has passed Wagga Wagga but is expected to deliver moderate flooding downstream at Darlington Point from Thursday.
The Murrumbidgee has passed the minor flood level at Balranald while major flooding is not expected to reach the town of Hay until late October, the BOM says.
People in tourist and caravan parks at Moama, on the Victorian border, have been told to evacuate by 9am Monday.
Heavy downpours in Victoria are expected to affect towns along the Murray River, including Moama, from midweek.
Flooding there is likely to be as bad or worse than the 1993 flood, the area’s second-biggest on record.
To the northeast, Cummeragunja residents have been told to evacuate as the Murray threatens to cut off routes to safety by noon on Monday.
Major flood warnings are in place for 11 rivers in NSW, with renewed flooding possible in some areas despite a temporary let-up in the rain.
Thousands of residents in Forbes, in the state’s central west, have been affected after the Lachlan River peaked on Friday night.
Major flooding at Warren is expected to continue and more rain could cause further rises on the Macquarie River, threatening more severe flooding at Wellington and Narromine in the coming days.
October rainfall records have been set in parts of inland NSW, including at Broken Hill in the state’s far west.
Sydney has also recorded its wettest year on record after only 10 months.