Weather News

Flood warnings and wild weather alert as east coast low hits Victoria

By Emma Field, Jonathon Kendall and Peter Somerville, Tuesday June 8, 2021 - 20:16 EST
ABC image
Farmers are being warned to prepare for floods from Gippsland's main rivers. - ABC

Authorities are warning large parts of regional Victoria could face significant flooding and wild weather as an intense weather front crosses the state.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) says an east coast low will hit Victoria about midday, bringing with it destructive winds and potential flooding in Gippsland, central Victoria and parts of the north-east.

The bureau has warned 19 catchments could be affected, with up to 200 millimetres of rain expected from this afternoon into Thursday across south, central and East Gippsland.

BOM forecaster Tom Delamont said a low pressure system would move north from the Bass Strait over Victoria this morning, as a stronger low developed off the Gippsland coast, in the state's east.

"As we go into Wednesday afternoon, we see the main centre of low pressure develop off the south-east coast and an east coast low forming through that period," he said.

Most of the rain is tipped to fall in a 24-hour period from midday.

"During that period we could see some rainfall totals in the 150mm-250mm about western and central parts of the Gippsland ranges," Mr Delamont said.

"I think Gippsland is in for around 50 to 100 millimetres away from the ranges."

The bureau has issued a flood watch for Gippsland and parts of north-east and central Victoria, saying major flooding is possible in West Gippsland and Mitchell River, in the far east.

Mr Delamont warned south-easterly winds would strengthen across the state this afternoon and evening, with peak gusts predicted to hit 115 kilometres an hour ? hitting parts of Melbourne, alpine regions and Gippsland.

Footy club prepares for flood

On Monday the Wy Yung Football Netball Club, which is based near the Mitchell River, in Bairnsdale, posted on social media asking members to help in case of flooding.

Club president Brad Overend said they had organised a shed to store gear in case the club needed to evacuate its clubrooms because of the rising river.

"You've got all your fridges and freezers and your stoves and all your stuff on the walls, all the pictures and the honour boards [that would need to be saved]," Mr Overend said.

"You've got all the lawnmowers and stuff like that that too, netball stuff so there's a fair bit."

Senior football and netball competitions across Gippsland are on hold because of regional Victoria's coronavirus restrictions.

Mr Overend said it was hard to predict how much a flood could cost, but said it would be highly disruptive.

"It's very frustrating, you've gotta wait, you just get in there [to the clubrooms] and hose it out and then you've got the smell in there for a few weeks," Mr Overend said.

"With the footy ground you, If you get a bad [flood], you really can't play on it for about six weeks. You've got to find some way to train and play somewhere else for a while."

Farmers watching mountain rainfall

Steve Pendrick is a free-range egg producer and dairy farmer near Stratford, on the banks of the Avon River.

He said whether or not his local river would flood depended on how much rain fell in the upper catchment of the Gippsland high country.

"If we only get a couple of inches (50mm) in the upper catchments it will only get to a moderate (flood) level," he said.

"But if we get more than that, it will come up."

He said in the 1990 flood, when more than 300mm fell in the catchment, his house was inundated with a metre of water, and his calves were washed into a neighbour's property.

"The Avon River is the fastest rising river in the southern hemisphere ? within two to three hours it can be a roaring flood."

Mr Pendrick said he would monitor the rainfall and wait.

"You can't do much about it, if it's going to come it's going to come."


© ABC 2021

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