More evacuations as Victoria flood emergency deepens

Fires to floods

SES volunteers have gone door to door urging regional Victorians to evacuate as the flood crisis in the state’s east impacts more communities.

The emergency response was escalated late Thursday in Port of Sale as the Thomson River swelled towards a major flood level of four metres expected on Friday morning.

There are numerous warnings in place across Victoria as rivers flood after days of heavy rain, especially in the east.

Some communities that could soon be affected have been warned to move to higher ground. The include:

  • Ovens River downstream of Rocky Point between Whorouly to Wangaratta
  • Mitchell River downstream of Glenaladale
  • Yarra River from Millgrove to Coldstream

Yogi, a playground fixture at Apex Park in Wangaratta, under water on Friday. Photo: Facebook/Allan White

Residents who fled their homes downstream of Lake Glenmaggie as waters began encroaching on Wednesday night have been told it is still not safe to return.

These include parts of Tinamba, Tinamba West, Newry and surrounds.

“An evacuation warning remains current. It is still not safe to return. Dangerous flood water remains, continue to avoid flood-affected areas,” VicEmergency said on Friday morning.

Emergency crews continue the fight to protect homes and farmland with floodwaters rising across the Gippsland region.

Authorities say areas most at risk are likely to include the South Gippsland Highway, Sale Motor Way, Dargo Street and other streets near the Thomson River.

VicSES state duty officer Shane McBride said he was also concerned about communities around Wangaratta, while more than a dozen other watch and act alerts had been issued across eastern Victoria.

They included for the Mitchell River at Bairnsdale, with the Bureau of Meteorology warning it was likely to reach the major flood level overnight.

Authorities estimate up to 130 properties could have been impacted by floodwaters.

McBride said flooding was unpredictable and urged locals to stay across updates through the Vic Emergency App.

“It’s a dynamic situation we are in at the moment and unfortunately it keeps changing,” he said.

He said there had been 115 calls for assistance in the 24 hours to 4pm on Thursday but no more reports of driving through floodwater.

Farmland in Gippsland. Photo: Facebook/Darren Chester MP

Crews are on standby to assist with the unfolding emergency over the weekend and anyone told to evacuate should leave immediately, McBride said.

“If people do knock on your door, please listen to them, listen to the message that we are trying to get into people – because sometimes it’s too late to leave,” he said.

Locals at Tinamba have built a dirt levee and laid sandbags.

An alert for Tinamba, Tinamba West, Newry, Mewburn Park, Bellbird Corner, Riverslea and Maffra was downgraded to a moderate flood warning late on Thursday.

Early in the day the SES warned about 100 homes near Maffra could have been inundated, while some locals in Tinamba stayed behind to protect the town and farm land by building a levee and sandbagging homes.

The flood emergency came days after 700 firefighters spent days battling two bushfires in Gippsland, with one home lost but no reports of serous injury.

-with AAP

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