Victorian communities under siege from rising floodwaters will have barely any time to recover, with more heavy rainfall expected and another evacuation order on the way.
Wild storms destroyed homes and left towns without power on Thursday, with residents from about 200 homes in Traralgon forced to evacuate due to major flooding in the Traralgon Creek.
The evacuation order was issued about 10.30am, with a relief centre set up at the Traralgon basketball stadium.
But Victoria State Emergency Service chief officer of operations Tim Wiebusch on Friday said there was no respite on the way just yet.
“The challenge for the community and Traralgon is that while the water has receded and the Princes Highway is open, we do expect up to another 100mm of rain later today and throughout the night,” he told reporters.
“The advice that we have is that it will result in a renewed major flooding, and we do expect to be reissuing an evacuation order for those communities sometime early this afternoon.”
Mr Wiebusch said weather forecasters were likely to see another 15-25mm of rain across the southern parts of Victoria and into Gippsland, and 40-60mm across the western and central catchments.
“We can’t emphasise enough, stay in touch with your emergency broadcast, get the latest information from the VicEmergency website, and stay in touch with the Vic traffic website for latest road closures.”
SES crews have responded to 7400 requests for help in the past 48 hours, as strong wind gusts and heavy rainfall battered the state on Wednesday night and throughout Thursday.
It caused hundreds of trees to fall across power lines, leaving 121,000 households across Victoria still without power.
And it could take days for power to be restored to some homes.
Power supplier AusNet warned it may not be until next week that some homes were reconnected after the network suffered extensive damage.
Meanwhile, the tap water in Trentham – the town west of Melbourne that was completely cut off by fallen trees – was warned to be undrinkable.
“What we will see in the next 24 hours in terms of the flooding is threats on the Thompson River at Sale, with 30 properties that have already been door knocked and will likely come in threat of flooding there,” Mr Wiebusch said.
“On the outskirts of Melbourne, in the upper reaches of the Yarra River, we are also going to see major flooding.
“The Melba Highway and the road from Healesville to Yarra Glen has been closed this morning.
“We expect to see the latter of floodwater come through the flood plain. That will see the likes of the racecourse, and around 20 other properties, come under threat from those flood waters.”