More than 130 homes could be flooded in Gippsland after record-breaking rain

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Victoria’s State Emergency Services has warned single-storey homes could be inundated in the state’s east after residents were urgently evacuated on Wednesday afternoon.

More than 130 properties in Gippsland could be flooded, an SES deputy chief warned, as some residents who chose to stay and salvage their homes worked into the early hours of this morning sandbagging.

Flooding in Tinamba.Credit: Tim Bull MP, Facebook

Major flooding is occurring along the Macalister River, downstream of Lake Glenmaggie, around 30 kilometres north-west of Sale.

Residents of Tinamba, Tinamba West and Newry in Gippsland were evacuated by emergency services on Wednesday at 4.30pm. Those who remain in the area have been advised to shelter in the highest location possible.

At 4am Thursday, the Macalister River measured 6.87 metres, which is above the major flood level. The river will remain above major flood level throughout Thursday due to planned water releases from Lake Glenmaggie.

VicEmergency warned low-lying rural areas such as Riverslea, Mewburn Park and Bundalaguah may have extensively flooded, adding that above-floor-level in single-storey homes was likely to occur.

SES deputy chief operations officer David Baker said more than 130 properties in Tinamba and Tinamba West could be flooded. However, members have not yet been able to access the damage.

He added there was no further severe rain expected in coming days.

“Our crews and CFA have spent the afternoon and overnight making sure that people move up to higher ground,” he told ABC’s News Breakfast.

“The big tap in the sky has been turned off. That’s great news for us. So, what we’re dealing with now is what’s currently in the river systems, that will need to flush itself through.

“Then we can assess and manage that, and put efforts in place to make sure that communities are out of harm’s way.”

Flooding on a road in Maffra West.Credit: SES Gippsland

The nearby city of Sale is expected to receive less than 4 millimetres of rain on Thursday.

Evacuees should not attempt to return to their homes near Tinamba as it is too dangerous to return, EmergencyVic has warned.

Wellington Shire Mayor Ian Bye said around 20 locals were sheltering at a relief centre at Sale’s Gippsland Regional Sports Complex.

“It’s a little farming community. Lots of dairy farms around there predominantly,” he said.

“Great pub to visit, the Tinamba Hotel, but unfortunately, it’s sandbagged at the moment. Hopefully, it will be okay …

“In the country, we all help each other and make sure that we get through this terrible time.”

Flooding at Macalister River.Credit: Tim Bull MP, Facebook

The floodwaters were rising just 20 kilometres from where an out-of-control bushfire threatened lives and homes at Briagolong earlier this week.

Locals further upstream from Tinamba were warned they could still be in danger due to the inundation and were told to leave before conditions deteriorated.

EmergencyVic has also warned that there was major flooding along the Wonnangatta River at Waterford after the catchment received 80 millimetres of rain in the 24 hours up to 1am Thursday.

Residents were being urged to move to higher ground there too.

A major flood warning was still in place on Thursday for the Mitchell, Ovens and King rivers, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Moderate flood warnings were in place for sections of the Broken River, the Goulburn River, the Kiewa River, the Latrobe River, the Seven Creeks, Castle Creek, Thomson River and the Yarra River.

Bureau of Meteorology figures released at 5pm on Wednesday said Mt Hotham had received 248 millimetres of rain since the weather event began. Of that total, the weather bureau said 198.8 millimetres had fallen in the 24 hours to 9am on Wednesday – making it the highest daily rainfall record in station history.

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