Severe Storms & Life-Threatening Flash Flooding Warnings Issued For Certain Areas Of Victoria


Residents of regional Victoria have been warned of imminent storms and flash floods today after days of rain across the state left rivers and creeks swollen and bursting.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe storm warning for Bendigo, Shepparton, Seymour, Kyneton, Wodonga and Wangaratta over the coming hours for major rain and potentially flash-flooding.

“This advice is for heavy, locally intense rainfall which may lead to flash flooding which is occurring across this region and will continue into this morning,” the bureau said.

The persistent rain, which has been falling since Saturday, has only amped up despite expectations of a dry El Niño summer, with some areas of Victoria receiving up to 100mm of rain in just six hours. Victoria’s State Emergency Service (VicSES) received almost 700 requests for assistance between Sunday and Monday morning ranging from flooding, to fallen trees and building damage.

Flooding amidst heavy rain in central Victoria. Image: VicSES.

Experts are worried about the flow on effects of such intense downpours, with concerns of roads being cut off and storm drains becoming blocked.

“The rainfall around Bendigo triggered some flash flooding which moved downstream overnight and has triggered a major flood warning for the Campaspe River,” BoM meteorologist Miriam Bradbury told ABC News Breakfast.

“It’s an ongoing, unfolding situation as that rain continues to fall today.”

Shepparton told to prepare for flash flooding as rain heads towards NSW

VicSES commander Mark Cattell warned those who live near the Campaspe River at Rochester and the Goulburn River at Shepparton to begin preparing for flooding immediately. There are flood watches in place for rivers in Gippsland and in Central and Northern Victoria, too.

“There are sandbags available in Shepperton at the showgrounds. The residents can pick those up and put them around their properties,” Cattell said.

VicEmergency warned in another update that “recent rainfall totals have caused river levels to rise across the catchment and major flooding is possible at Barnadown from late Monday morning.”

Residents are urged to allow about 24 sandbags for blocking gutters and doors, with emergency authorities also warning of debris and damaged buildings to come.

Cattell said households and businesses should allow about 25 sandbags to block some gutters and doors.

Here’s the full list of advice VicSES issued for flood-impacted residents:

  • If driving conditions are dangerous, safely pull over away from trees, drains, low-lying areas and floodwater. Avoid travel if possible.
  • Stay safe by avoiding dangerous hazards, such as floodwater, mud, debris, damaged roads and fallen trees.
  • Be aware — heat, fire or recent storms may make trees unstable and more likely to fall when it’s windy or wet.
  • Check that loose items, such as outdoor settings, umbrellas and trampolines are safely secured. Move vehicles under cover or away from trees.
  • Stay indoors and away from windows.
  • If outdoors, move to a safe place indoors. Stay away from trees, drains, gutters, creeks and waterways.
  • Stay away from fallen powerlines – always assume they are live.
  • Be aware that in fire-affected areas, rainfall run-off into waterways may contain debris such as ash, soil, trees and rocks. Heavy rainfall may also increase the potential for landslides and debris across roads.

The warnings come after a busy night in Bendigo, with Victorian emergency services performing 26 flood rescues in the area between 1am and 4am this morning. An emergency relief centre has been set up at the Bendigo Showgrounds for anyone affected by flooding.

While the flooding in Bendigo is expected to ease this afternoon, residents along the Campaspe River from Lake Eppalock to Barnadown have been advised to move to higher ground.

As the storm moves, southern NSW has also been warned to expect heavy rains and potential flooding.

Image: VicSES.