Thousands have been forced to flee their homes as heavy rain hammers three states causing widespread flooding.
Large parts of Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania were hit with heavy rain on Thursday night.
Residents in several Victorian towns have been told to leave as swollen rivers threaten communities and floods threaten the state.
Residents in central and northeastern parts of the state are those most affected.
The Maribyrnong River is set to rise rapidly on Friday morning with residents along Burton Crescent, Chifley Drive and Clive Street ordered to leave.
A “too late to leave” order was issued for low-lying areas of Benalla and Baddaginnie in the northeast of the state.
An evacuation order was issued at 3am but residents who had not evacuated have been urged to shelter in the highest location possible.
The Broken River at Benalla is currently at 4.01 metres and rising, and may reach the major flood level (4.50m) on Friday morning.
An evacuation order has been issued in Wedderburn where the The Skinners Flat Reservoir is likely to breach.
This could result in up to 3ft of strong fast moving waters to hit the Wedderburn Township via the Calder Highway and out towards Wedderburn Junction Road.
If you are located in the highlighted Wedderburn area, it is strongly recommended that you evacuate now.
Residents wanting to leave should get the evacuation centre at Wedderburn Hall as soon as possible.
Residents in Rochester, in central Victoria, were told to evacuate by 3am on Friday as the Campaspe River continues to rise. It is set to peak sometime on Friday afternoon, and floods could last for 10 days, the SES warned.
People living in Seymour and Carisbrook have also been told to leave now, with floodwaters “rapidly rising”.
McCallum Creek has now peaked and water levels are expected to stabilise, but residents may see another rise early in to Friday morning as floodwaters from the Tullaroop Creek in Clunes move through the area.
Dozens of Melbourne suburbs were also put on alert as the threat of flooding grew last night.
Essendon, Footscray, Moonee Ponds and Keilor were among the areas where residents were told to “act now”.
The heavy rain and damaging winds are expected to clear by Friday morning.
However, Victoria’s emergency management commissioner Andrew Crisp has warned the state’s flood risk won’t end after today, or even after this weekend.
He told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell ‘we’re in this for a while’, with the state experiencing a “campaign flood event”.
“There is another low developing, so we’ll see, probably, that weather next Wednesday to Thursday.”
In Tasmania, five evacuation orders have been issued since 7pm last night with lives at risk from fast-moving floodwaters.
Residents from Liena to Latrobe were told at 5am to evacuate now to one of three evacuation centres.
Residents from Kimberley to Merseylea are asked to go Deloraine Community Centre while all other residents can attend Latrobe Memorial Hall or the Green Shed.
Evacuation orders were also issued overnight for Newstead in the Hart Street area and Meander to Carrick.
Residents downstream of the Lake Isandula Dam are being urged to move to evacuate as the dam is at risk of failure.
A move to higher ground warning has been issued for Nunamara to Corkery’s Road as some properties could become isolate or inundated by flood waters.
Watch and Act warnings are in place for Ouse, Gunns Plains, Wivenhoe, Kindred to Leith, Heybridge, St Marys to Avoca, Cora Linn to Inveresk, Hadspen to Blackstone Heights, the Liffey River, Cressy to Longford, Lake River, Dairy Plains and Blessington.
In the central-west of New South Wales, an evacuation order was issued for about 250 homes in Forbes by 8pm on Thursday.
Anyone who has yet to evacuate is being urged not to leave as evacuation routes will be closed due to floodwater.
An evacuation order remains in place for certain streets in Moorong and Gobbagombalin. Residents should take Edward St to evacuate.
The weather event is being caused by a deep low-pressure system south of the Great Australian Bight that has combined with a deep tropical air mass to cause widespread heavy and intense rainfall across the country.
Bureau of Meteorology senior meteorologist Jonathan How said the flood risk to Melbourne and Victoria was “extremely significant”.
“That is why we are really urging people to keep an eye on the flood forecasts and warnings and follow all advice from your SES as well,” he told The Today Show on Thursday.
“Even though the rain is forecast to ease early into Friday morning, the flood threat will remain well into the weekend.”
That message was mirrored by Premier Daniel Andrews.
“There is an element of unpredictability in this as well and there’s also a time lag. After the rain has stopped, there will still be very significant risks and waters will rise,” he said.
“That will pose a real challenge over the coming days.”
Damaging wind gusts of 90 to 100km/h are possible over elevated terrain in central and eastern areas of the state, possibly reaching up to 110km/h in exposed alpine peaks.
The SES has advised drivers to reduce their speeds, maintain a greater distance between the vehicle in front of them and turn on their headlights.
Motorists have been urged to avoid Great Ocean Rd by the SES after a landslide in the Separation Creek area near Lorne.
The public have been urged to stay away the landslide as it could continue to move for hours or even days.
Echuca residents have been advised to boil their water after storm water entered one of Coliban Water’s treated water storage tanks.
Evacuation orders in place
- Wedderburn, Skinners Flat
- Seymour: It is now, too late to leave if located in area bound by Goulburn River to Redbank Rd, along the Goulburn Hwy to Whiteheads Creek up railway line
- Laanecoorie to Loddon Weir: Move to higher ground
- Broken Rover to Benalla: Move to higher ground
- Baddaginnie, Benalla and Tarnook: Too late to leave
- Goulburn River Lake Eildon to Seymour: Move to higher ground
- Campaspe River Lake Eppalock to Barnadown: Move to higher ground
- Seven Creeks to Euroa: Move to higher ground
- Liena to Latrobe and Surrounds
- Parts of Newstead in the Hart street area
- Downstream of Lake Isandula Dam on Isandula Road, Preston Road and Gawler Road
- Meander to Carrick and surrounds
- Nunamara to Corkery’s Road and surrounds: Move to higher ground
- Forbes East, West, CBD, North West, North East and South: Too late to leave
- Parts of Moorong and Gobbagombalin
- Wilks Park: Too late to leave
- Oura Beach Camping Area