/ 09 January 2024

The rains are ‘ere


The Squiz

It’s been a very wet couple of days in big parts of Victoria with thunderstorms, heavy rain and flash flooding hitting southeastern Oz. Parts of central and northern Victoria experienced record-breaking rainfall yesterday – the town of Heathcote (about 110km north of Melbourne) copped 184mm in 24 hours. And Bendigo (about 40km northwest) had 92mm of rain – Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) meteorologist Michael Efron says that broke “another record with over 90 years of data”. Residents of Yea and Seymour were evacuated as floodwaters rose, and emergency service authorities have tipped that the regional cities of Wangaratta and Shepparton will see significant flooding in the coming days.

More rain is on the way?

Yep. Efron says central and eastern parts of Victoria are still in the firing line as a tropical air mass that’s moving across will continue to bring moderate to heavy rainfall – but things will clear up a bit as that storm front moves east. For those already affected, relief centres have been set up in Bendigo, Seymour, Yea and Echuca. At least 38 people have had to be rescued, while State Emergency Service volunteers responded to more than 1,200 calls for help by yesterday afternoon. Given that the risk to lives is still high, Premier Jacinta Allen has warned tourists and residents to keep an eye on emergency warnings before they travel anywhere. “Please do not drive through floodwaters,” she urged yesterday.

What’s happening elsewhere?

The unseasonable wet weather hit South Oz first, drenching parts of the state over the weekend before it intensified as it moved across to Victoria. And if it’s all sounding a bit steamy to you, you’re on the money… Efron says “the amount of moisture” moving across Victoria is “what you would normally see in somewhere like Queensland”. Speaking of the Sunshine State, the clean-up is continuing following the deadly back-to-back storms that have caused havoc there over the past fortnight. Power is still being restored to homes in the Gold Coast region after residents have suffered through 2 weeks without electricity. Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick says the total damage bill is at more than $2 billion and it could take years to rebuild…

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