Schools closed, train services down as floods inundate parts of regional Victoria

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Communities in regional Victoria are becoming isolated, schools have been closed and train lines have collapsed as flooding inundates regional Victoria.

Roads across the state are now covered in floodwaters as multiple watch and action alerts are issued.

Satellite images published by Weather zone show a massive cloud band extending 5000 km from the Indian Ocean to southeast Australia.

It was this band of cloud that brought the current wave of extreme weather to this part of the country

This satellite image shows the massive cloud band extending thousands of miles from the Indian Ocean, bringing the current wave of extreme weather to southeastern Australia. (Weather Zone/Himawari-8)

Huge falls are also impacting Tasmania, which could see up to 200mm of rain in just 24 hours.

The SES has already responded to 1,377 calls for help in Victoria in the 24 hours to 1pm today, with the worst weather forecast for the state yet to come.

Of those calls, 911 were for flooding, 193 for downed trees, 153 for building damage, and crews performed 12 floodwater rescues.

A massive 129mm of rain had already fallen at Strathbogie North in central Victoria at 9am today, while overnight gusts reached 109km/h at Mount Hotham.

A severe weather warning for damaging winds and heavy rain is in place for most of the state.

SES Castlemaine is warning people not to drive through floodwaters. (SES Castlemaine)

The Department for Transport has described driving conditions as “extremely dangerous”, urging drivers to postpone non-essential journeys.

“As heavy rains head towards metropolitan Melbourne, many roads are likely to close due to flooding or will be impacted by floodwaters, fallen trees and debris,” the department said.

“Poor conditions and high traffic volumes will cause difficult conditions on major roads such as the Monash Freeway, West Gate Freeway, M80 Ring Road and Eastern Freeway.”

The heaviest rainfall is expected to hit Melbourne from late afternoon until evening, with 40mm of rain expected in the western suburbs and up to 60mm in the north.

Parts of regional Victoria are starting to flood

There is already water on major roads, including the Melba, Hume, Calder and Maroondah highways.

Buses are replacing trains on sections of the Shepparton, Albury, Echuca, Swan Hill and Warrnambool lines, due to extreme weather and flooding affecting parts of the rail network.

The Ministry of Education informed that a number of schools and kindergartens across the state have closed due to flooding or flood risk.

In central Victoria, Broadford Secondary School was closed at lunchtime, with all pupils sent home by bus to undertake remote learning for the rest of the week.

Residents of Rochester, 180km north of Melbourne, have been told waters could potentially rise 115m above sea level, affecting hundreds of homes.

Thousands of sandbags were filled and residents were told to evacuate after doing their best to prepare their homes and businesses for flooding.

Up to 80mm of rain is expected in northern and western Victoria today, with isolated totals of 120mm or more.

Castlemaine, Heathcote and Bendigo roads also began to flood, cutting off parts of the town.

The Campaspe River in central Victoria is expected to peak this Saturday. (New)

A Heathcote resident told 9News Melbourne she had never seen such severe flooding.

In Echuca, residents have been advised to boil their water until further notice after stormwater entered a treated water storage tank.

“This may compromise drinking water safety,” Coliban Water said via Twitter.

More than 1,000 people are currently without power in Echuca, according to Powercore.

There are also outages in Bendigo, Daylesford and Rochester.

Heavy rain is coming to Victoria today and tomorrow. (weather zone)

The SES has received more than 200 calls for help in the past 24 hours, mostly for minor flooding.

About 100 people were evacuated from Falls Creek yesterday due to a slow-moving landslide cutting off the access road.

Victoria’s Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp told 3AW the state will continue to see this cycle for the next six to eight weeks.

“If you don’t need to be on the roads today, please don’t be on the roads, because it’s not just about the floods, it’s also about the trees,” he told 3AW.

Crisp warned the state would be “in this area for a while”, with Victorians for a “countryside flooding event”.

Tasmania is also expecting flooding, with up to 300mm of rain falling in places today.

As of 9am today, a total of 185mm had already fallen on Great East Lake and 148mm on Lake Mackenzie.

There are currently heavy rains and major flood warnings in place for northern Tasmania.

New South Wales is also in the crosshairs with rivers still swollen from recent rains.

A woman and her daughter had to be rescued from flooding in Forbes, in the midwest of the state.

Flooding at Tamworth in NSW.

Hundreds cry for help as heavy rain rolls through NSW

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