Communities across eastern Victoria urged to move to higher ground as flood warnings issued

Communities across eastern Victoria are being urged to seek higher ground after heavy rain flooded rivers in the region, with more severe weather on the way.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning for intense rainfall and damaging winds across East Gippsland on Sunday morning. Major flood warnings are also in place for the Snowy, Buchan, Bemm and Cann rivers after heavy rain lashed the region on Saturday.

In the 24 hours to 9am on Sunday, up to 35mm of rain was recorded across the Snowy River, with isolated totals of up to 66mm.

Another 20 to 100mm of rain could hit the river over the rest of the day, and water levels on the Snowy River downstream at McKillops Bridge could rise to major flooding by the evening.

Residents around the Snowy are urged to move to higher ground with fears the river near Orbost could exceed 7 metres by Monday morning.

“Move stock and machinery to higher ground. Prepare to take actions to protect your life and property,” an emergency alert said.

“You may become isolated and need to activate your flood plan due to the potential impacts to Orbost from coming flood water.”

Communities around the Buchan River are also warned to move their stock and machinery to higher ground, with that catchment expected to reach major flooding by Sunday night.

Meanwhile, the Bemm, Cann and Genoa rivers have received between 20 and 100mm of rain – with isolated showers of up to 170mm – since 9am on Saturday.

With more rain expected throughout the day, the rivers could reach major flood levels by Sunday night.

Bemm River residents are being told to urgently enact their flood plans, with road access to be cut at Sydenham Inlet Road on Sunday afternoon into the evening.

“You may become isolated, with no access in or out of your home. Ensure you have prepared for this event or consider leaving now. Remember to take your pets, mobile phone, spare clothes and medications if you leave,” a warning said.

Cann River residents are urged to prepare to move to higher ground, with fears the river near Weeragua and Chandlers Creek will also reach major flooding by Sunday night.