Shortly after 1 a.m. on Friday, Vic Emergency said Skinners Flat Reservoir was ‘susceptible to rupture’, sending three feet (about a metre) of ‘strong, fast-moving water’ through Wedderburn Township along from the Calder Freeway and towards Wedderburn Junction Road.
A rescue center had been set up at Wedderburn Mechanics Institute Hall and people were told to evacuate as soon as possible.
“If the Skinners Flat Reservoir has already been breached when you receive this message, stop draining and take shelter towards the back of your home for about an hour, or until the water subsides. “, warned the authorities.
Myra Swann of the Wedderburn Hotel said the police told her the venue would need to be high enough to escape any flooding, but the situation was still nerve-wracking.
“The stream behind us isn’t as high as it was in 2011, but we don’t know what’s going to happen,” she told 9news.com.au.
Schools closed and trains suspended
On Friday, dozens of schools across Victoria will be closed and train lines cut across much of the north as the state waits for the worst of the wet weather to clear.
Three other towns evacuated
Residents of Carisbrook, Seymour and Rochester were ordered to leave and some people along the Goulburn and Campaspe Rivers and Seven Creeks were ordered to move to higher ground.
Dozens of other areas, including Melbourne’s suburbs along the Maribyrnong River and Merri Creek, were still under surveillance and warning of flooding early this morning.
Areas at risk include Brunswick, Coburg, Fitzroy and Northcote in the interior north and Essendon, Sunshine, Footscray and Yarraville in the west.
But the worst of the weather was felt in the north as a strong cold front stretching from Echuca to eastern Gippsland caused widespread flash flooding and dumped heavy rain.
Strathbogie, about 125 kilometers northeast of Melbourne, cut 202 millimeters in the 24 hours to 9 p.m., with 192 millimeters at Charnwood and between 130 and 170 millimeters at Moroko Park, Handcocks, Seymour and the Mount Buffalo Chalet.
Severe weather warning for much of Victoria
A severe weather warning remained in place overnight, but the Bureau of Meteorology expected the weather to clear Friday morning.
Forecasters predicted six-hour rainfall totals of 30 to 50 millimeters, with daily totals in the range of 50 to 80 millimeters, up to 120 millimeters in higher ground.
The office warned of the risk of landslides and debris being washed onto the roads.
Nine waterways were under major flood warnings early Friday morning as Vic Emergency warned that the Campaspe River is expected to rise above the level reached during the January 2011 floods.
Other systems affected were the Maribyrnong, Weribee, Ovens, King, Goulburn, Loddon and Avoca rivers and Mount Emu, Seven and Castle streams.
A moderate flood warning was in effect for parts of the Yarra, with a major warning in parts of the Murray and moderate in other areas.
The weather took its toll on transport, leaving veterinary nurse Madeleine Sargent and several others stranded for hours on the way from Melbourne to Albury.
Weather causes transport chaos
V/Line cut all services, including replacement coaches, on the Shepparton, Seymour, Albury, Echuca and Swan Hill lines, leaving Sargent and others stranded in Seymour before boarding an 80 bus miles to Shepparton.
Sargent told 9News.com.au she and three other people traveled the remaining 180 kilometers to Albury by taxi.
The Geelong, Ballarat and Gippsland lines were still operating, but with buses replacing trains in some parts.
“We apologize to the affected passengers and appreciate their patience as we navigate this significant weather event,” the company said.
Nearly 10,000 homes and businesses near Castlemaine, around 100 kilometers northwest of Melbourne, lost power on Thursday evening when the substation flooded.
Powercor said it “turned off” the substation when sandbagging, pumping and moving equipment to higher ground proved insufficient to prevent the control room from flooding.
Football fields have turned into swimming pools as rain floods Victoria
A resident on social media said he was told power would not return until Friday evening, but Powercor’s website no longer showed an outage in the area early Friday morning.