WHILE it certainly wasn’t the ‘unprecedented’ super storm the state was braced for, the weekend’s rain still managed to put a dampener on most of Gippsland’s weekend plans.
East Sale recorded a total of 83.6mm across Friday, Saturday and Sunday, exceeding December’s rainfall average by some 30mm.
Much of the rain fell as a steady, heavy drizzle, so that it soaked in rather than running off and causing any major flooding.
Scheduled cricket, basketball and tennis pennants were cancelled across Wellington Shire, and soggy cyclists undertaking the Great Victorian Bike Ride were bussed back to Melbourne from Maffra on Saturday, after a day of slogging through rain from Bairnsdale on Friday.
The Bicycle Network released a statement on Friday which detailed how Maffra would be the final campsite for the ride this year, and how the decision to stop riding was not an easy one.
“Out of concern for the wellbeing of our riders, volunteers and the wider team, we’ve had to make the heart-wrenching decision to not ride to Glengarry on Saturday,” it read.
“Severe weather warnings across the state has meant that Victoria Police has been recalled from the event to Melbourne.
“This is combined with the prediction of severe weather in the region.”
Glenmaggie Weir spilled, providing some relief to farmers this irrigation season.
At the time the Gippsland Times went to the press, there were still minor flood warnings in place for the Mitchell and Macalister rivers.
The Macalister River at Licola peaked at 2.94 metres at 4pm on Saturday, and the minor flood level there was 2.7m.
Yesterday morning it was 2.3m and falling.
No more flooding was expected in the Macalister upsteam of Glenmaggie.
While Gippsland escaped relatively unscathed, short of a few ‘water over road’ signs, some parts of the state faced severe flooding.
Farmers rushed to harvest crops before their paddocks became waterlogged, and some homes were evacuated and sandbagged in the north-east.
Euroa, Myrtleford and the Buckland Valley slipped underwater as local rivers burst their banks, giving the Bureau of Meteorology fair reason to defend their deluge warnings.
Senior BOM forecaster Scott Williams said on Thursday that the rainfall would be “an event of absolute massive scale” and that “half the inhabitants of Melbourne have never ever seen anything like this”.
The SES, which responded to more than 2700 requests for assistance across the weekend, remind people never to drive into flood waters, citing research conducted by the University of New South Wales which demonstrated that as little as 15cm of water was enough for a vehicle to begin to float, reducing drivers’ control and endangering occupants.