A rain band stretching from southern NSW down to SA will bring a flash flooding risk that could cut off some Victorians for up to 72 hours.
Rainfall totals of up to 50mm are likely in southern New South Wales, north of the Victoria ranges, and northern Tasmania through Wednesday.
The weather is expected to worsen throughout Thursday in Victoria as the state braces for flooding, with up to 80mm of rain expected to fall.
Emergency services will be deployed to multiple regions including Wimmera in Victoria’s west, as well as residents along the Avoca, Loddon and Campaspe rivers.
Premier Daniel Andrews said on Tuesday morning catchments were completely full and any additional rain could trigger floods.
“We know that we’ve had record rainfall to this point and the ground is absolutely sodden; so even a minor amount of rain would be a real risk in terms of flooding,” Mr Andrews said.
“But it’s not a minor rain event that we are forecasting. There will be significant rainfall in certain parts of the state, and that’ll pose a flooding risk to communities in lots of different places.”
Minor warnings have also been issued for the Barwon, Goulburn, Kiewa, King, Snowy, Werribee and Yarra rivers.
Emergency Management Victoria Deputy Commissioner Chris Stephenson said Victorians in flood-risk areas need to prepare “for up to 72 hours of isolation”.
“That includes making sure it’s not just yourself, but your neighbours – that you’ve got provisions for your pets, you’ve got your medication available,” he said.
Melbourne is also expected to be hit by heavy rain on Thursday with a risk of flash flooding in some areas.
Mr Andrews warned people not to drive through floodwaters, in order to protect themselves and emergency workers and volunteers.
“Our emergency services are ready – we need Victorians to be ready, too,” he said.
“Create an emergency plan, keep updated with the latest advice and make sure you’ve got a support network to keep safe.”
Tim Wiebusch, Chief Officer Operations of the SES, said people should avoid driving across the northern part of the state on Thursday, when the weather will be at its worst.
“Now is the time to be clearing out your storm pits, your gutters around your house and making sure you don’t have any debris lying around that may become a missile during strong winds,” he said.
“Don’t drive into flash floodwaters, because it could be the last decision you ever make.”
Calling on the Australian Defence Force for assistance has not been ruled out by authorities.