Victoria has faced its wettest January days on record as the flood threat across the state continues to flow to more regional towns.
Flood-inducing rainfalls across the state have smashed records for the month going back about 120 years, the Bureau of Meteorology’s Bri Macpherson said.
“If we had no further rainfall for the rest of January, this month would still be within the top 20 wettest Januaries that we have on record,” she said.
The state is poised to remain mostly dry on Wednesday and Thursday with the flood threat now moving towards Murchison and Shepparton, and later in Echuca in central Victoria.
With six flood rescues on Tuesday, the total since the emergency began on Sunday stands at 52.
About half of those were triggered by people driving on flooded roads and becoming stuck in their cars.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese joined Victoria’s acting premier Ben Carroll on Wednesday to announce further support for the state’s flood victims.
The money would go towards emergency and hardship payments along with local councils, Mr Albanese said.
“This is a really difficult time,” he said.
“It will be traumatic for people in places like Rochester, who just a couple of years ago went through another severe weather event.
“So, we stand with Victorians.”
A watch and act alert is in place along the Goulburn River from Seymour to Shepparton and for the Bendigo and Bullock Creeks.
Victoria SES chief officer Tim Wiebusch on Wednesday warned communities along the Goulburn River to expect possible road closures and overland flooding.
The river at Murchison reached a moderate-level peak of 10.5m on Wednesday afternoon.
Water flows are expected to continue onto the Kialla, Shepparton and Mooroopna areas, bringing moderate flooding peaking at about 10.7m by Friday.
“For those communities, now is the time to act … and do not attempt to drive through floodwaters,” Mr Wiebusch said.
Crews have doorknocked about 300 homes from Kialla to Shepparton with fewer than a dozen properties expected to be inundated, Mr Wiebusch said.
“But there will be extensive flooding in some of the streets, so please be alert to that.”
Floodwaters are flowing downstream towards the town of Echuca with minor flooding peaks expected on Wednesday.
“We are seeing local road closures and some inundation around some low-lying areas, but we are not expecting to see levels anywhere near what we saw in 2022 where it impacted broadly on that community,” Mr Wiebusch said.
The Goulburn River at Seymour peaked at 6.8m on Monday afternoon before a second rise late on Tuesday.
Six homes were flooded in Yea while 18 properties and businesses in Seymour had above or below-floor flooding in what Mr Wiebusch said were the worst-hit areas.
More than 1800 requests for assistance have been made to the SES during the emergency, but call numbers dropped during the past day as the response shifted towards recovery.
Rochester residents can return to assess any damage to their properties with the flood threat reduced.
Mount Dandenong Tourist Road at Ferny Creek in Melbourne’s southeast will remain closed for several days after a landslide.
Storms with the potential of heavy rainfalls are brewing in the east and north towards the end of the week but Ms Macpherson assured the falls are nothing like recent events.
CURRENT FLOOD WARNINGS AND ADVICE:
* Residents safe to return to Rochester, minor flooding still occurring
* Floodwaters around Seymour and Yea along the Goulburn River have receded
* Minor flooding peaks in Echuca expected Wednesday with local road closures and inundation in low-lying areas
* Moderate flooding around Murchison with flood peak on Wednesday afternoon
* Moderate flooding at Bendigo and Bullock Creeks along the Loddon River leading to extensive flooding and road closures
* Moderate flood peak expected in Kialla, Shepparton and Mooroopna by Friday
* Minor floods impacting local roads in northern Victoria and Gippsland region in the east.