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Flood threat eases in Gippsland but more severe weather on the way in Victoria

Sunday November 14, 2021 - 07:42 AEDT
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Flooding in the Avon River at Stratford peaked on Saturday night. - ABC

Victorians can expect a sleepless night with gusty winds expected overnight even as the threat of flooding in Gippsland eases.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Michael Laczko said there was a severe weather warning for potentially damaging wind gusts through much of coastal Victoria and the Alpine regions.

"We have had a pretty gusty [Sunday] afternoon already with showers and the odd storm," he said.

"It's really into this evening as the showers begin to ease a little bit, we are expecting the winds to pick up and become more consistently strong and gusty.

"We could possibly see wind gusts of up to 90 kilometres per hour."

Mr Laczko said though the winds would be predominantly around the south-west coast, Otway and down the Bass Coast, they were also expecting it in Mornington Peninsula, some bayside suburbs like Frankston, as well as parts of the Dandenong Ranges.

"The wind is expected to ? peak during the evening, before easing in the early hours of the morning," he said.

An SES spokesperson urged people to secure any loose objects like outdoor furniture, trampolines and park cars away from trees.

The Victorian State Emergency Service responded to more than 187 calls for assistance in the 24 hours to 5:30pm on Sunday. Of these, 119 were for trees down and 37 related to building damage.

Earlier, 15 people were rescued, including five people who were left hanging on to trees after their car was trapped by floodwaters under the Wuk Wuk Bridge near Bairnsdale, in East Gippsland.

SES state duty officer Brad Dalgleish said the floodwaters still posed a potential risk to motorists.

"There's still a chance we're going to get some local or minor roads that are still flooded," he said.

"We are asking that people keep an eye out and look at the VicRoads website for updates on local road closures.

"Most importantly, if there's water over the road, forget it, don't drive through it."

The SES is warning people to be careful near trees in areas affected by the severe weather.

"With all the rain that we've had, with obviously the ground being wet, with those high winds, we do have the chance of those trees falling," Mr Dalgleish said.

"Also, with I guess the branches and all the leaves being quite heavy, the[re is a] chance they may fall, break."

A flood warning for the Mitchell River was downgraded to moderate on Sunday morning, while the warning for the Avon River was downgraded to minor.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said the Avon River peaked above 6.54 metres at Stratford on Saturday night, but had been steadily falling below the major flood level.

There was major flooding reported at Stratford.

Moderate flooding was reported at Glenaladale, where the Mitchell River peaked at 4.71 metres on Saturday.

The BOM's Keris Arndt said river levels would remain high in the Mitchell and Avon rivers in the short term.

"There's definitely still elevated flooding through these rivers, still danger around fast-flowing waters, so just be well aware that there is a still a lot of water around even though they may have peaked and dropped below major flood levels," he said.

The SES said there was minimal risk to property from the flooding, but some homes might be isolated due to road closures.

Vegetable farmer John Hine's property neighbours the Mitchell River at Glenaladale.

"It's still raining today; that's on top of a massive amount of rain in the past four or five months," he said. 

"We'll lose a fair bit of crop, [there is] waterlogging of maize and some new crops we've got in, so we're just keeping our fingers crossed that it fines up soon." 

The weather bureau issued a severe weather warning for damaging winds for parts of the Central, East Gippsland, South West, North East, and West and South Gippsland districts on Sunday.

"We do have a cold front moving through the state this morning, bringing showers and potentially some isolated thunderstorms and small hail to much of the state, especially in southern parts and quite gusty winds as well," Mr Arndt said.

The bureau said the strong and gusty winds would most affect the exposed coasts and Alpine districts, where wind gusts were expected to reach 100 kilometres per hour.


© ABC 2021

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