A farmer's tractor stranded in floodwaters
A farmer was rescued after his tractor became stuck in floodwaters in Alexandra, Victoria. Image by HANDOUT/VICTORIA POLICE
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Residents ordered to higher ground as floodwaters rise

October 4, 2023

A major flood warning has been issued for a river in eastern Victoria over concerns water will remain high into Wednesday evening.

Residents along the Macalister River downstream of Lake Glenmaggie, which is near Maffra, have been told to move to higher ground. 

The emergency warning was issued at 3.30pm.

Total rainfall in that area was 150mm in the 24 hours to 9am on Wednesday and further rain was forecast into Thursday.

The river was at 5.75 metres and rising on Wednesday afternoon, with further planned releases from Lake Glenmaggie.

There have been hundreds of calls for help as rivers continue to rise and damaging winds lash eastern Victoria following days of bushfire threats.

There were more than 300 requests for assistance to the State Emergency Service overnight, mostly connected to flooding near Eildon.

A farmer had to be rescued from floodwaters in Alexandra after he got into trouble attempting to rescue cattle on a tractor, police said.

Footage from the incident shows the vehicle stranded in gushing water metres away from what appears to be a dirt road.

The 43-year-old Alexandra man suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to hospital.

Fires at Briagolong and Loch Sport have been downgraded to an advice warning with the focus firmly on areas at risk of flooding after a deluge on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Watch and act alerts for flooding were issued across eastern Victoria for as far north as the King River at Cheshunt and south to Glenmaggie.

Residents along the Acheron River near Marysville and the Goulburn River near Lake Eildon were warned moderate flooding was expected after 140mm of rain fell in 24 hours.

An alert was also issued for parts of the Yarra River on the outskirts of Melbourne.

Emergency Services Minister Jaclyn Symes said the situation was dynamic.

“We have, in good news, downgraded emergency warnings for fire,” Ms Symes told reporters at state parliament.

“We’ve had a lot of rain across the state and that has brought flood concerns and flash flooding concerns.”

The Bureau of Meteorology placed Melbourne and most of the state’s east under flood watch with more rain expected throughout Wednesday.

Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said she was working closely with providers to ensure the wild weather and natural disasters had a minimal impact on energy supply.

Conditions were expected to ease from Thursday but flooding was tipped to last until the weekend.

The flood threat comes after many residents in Gippsland were put on alert for fires.

About 700 firefighters spent three days battling two blazes, with one home lost in Briagolong but no reports of serious injury.

The cause of that blaze, which grew to about 17,500 hectares, is under investigation.