Emergency services preparing for potential flood disaster

This is the eye-opening map which shows almost an entire state flooded — and the situation will only get worse with more heavy rain on the way.

The map shows the areas most affected by floods in Victoria, taking up much of the state. Picture: Courtesy SES Victoria Source:Twitter
The map shows the areas most affected by floods in Victoria, taking up much of the state. Picture: Courtesy SES Victoria Source:Twitter

Victoria is bracing for further chaos after heavy rain battered the state, with forecasters predicting another widespread drenching next week for eastern Australia.

SES Victoria spokesman Stefan Delatovic said even a small amount of rain could spell disaster for already soaked areas, with some experiencing their biggest rainfalls in a century.

Mr Delatovic said with more than 280 road closures, 26 flood warnings across the state — three of which are major — it was vital people took extra care. The flood chaos could not have come at a worse time for the state with the approach of school holidays. Mr Delatovic said the worst affected areas were western and central areas of the state.

He said there had been 17 rescues over the past week and stressed the importance of people avoiding flood areas at all costs. “We can’t underestimate how dangerous even a small about of water is,” he said. “Just 15cm is enough to carry a car away, so even if you know the road well, don’t cross.” Mr Delatovic also urged those going away to check Victoria Roads as well as the SES for ongoing updates.

The Avoca River is expected to peak just short of the 7.9m peak at the town during the September 2010 flood. By 6pm last night the river had reached 7.13m and was still rising. Ten homes remained at risk of flooding, Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said.

While rain has eased, Mr Lapsley yesterday warned barely a patch of Victoria was untouched by the drenching the state has received over the past few days.

River, creek and water catchments are swollen to capacity and with more rain forecast next week, emergency services are preparing for potential disaster.

“This is not going away,” he said. “We are calling this the floods of September 2016. We are expecting it to be a significant event.

“The state is saturated, we’re now seeing most of our rivers in some sort of flood.”

Mr Lapsley said with water at current levels, there were concerns with what impact more rain would have.

“Next week’s weather is concerning. If we get 20mm when we have reservoirs full, dams full and rivers full, that’s a concern,” he said.

“That’s our next problem to face. We are trying to get a good understanding of the weather and the change in the weather pattern that has potential to bring rain with it.”

South Australia and Victoria have borne the brunt of torrential rainfalls over the past few days.

Eighty homes have been flooded and 39 roads remain closed after torrential rain and gale force winds battered the Adelaide Hills, causing millions of dollars in damage.

But Weatherzone meteorologist Ben Domensino told news.com.au more rain was certainly on the way.

He said the next systems were a cause for concern.

“A cold front moving across The Bight will hit western Victoria on Saturday,” he said.

While modelling predicts up to 10mm-20mm of rain, Mr Domensino said this would be enough to cause widespread flooding.

“A prediction of 20mm of rain doesn’t sound like much, but the concern is these two systems will add to the waterlogged conditions,” he said.

River levels across the Mt Lofty Ranges had peaked, reducing any immediate risk of further flooding, but could be swelled by falls forecast for Saturday and next week. Some centres in the Adelaide Hills, on the Fleurieu Peninsula and on Kangaroo Island had their wettest September day on record on Wednesday, copping more than 100mm. That led to flooding across a wide area with the towns of Aldgate, Bridgewater and Hahndorf and Adelaide’s eastern suburbs the hardest hit.

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