AUTHORITIES are asking people to stay well-informed about weather and emergency service warnings, with wild weather expected to lash Gippsland during the next 24 hours.
During his morning update, Bureau of Meteorology senior meteorologist Christopher Arvier said the low pressure system currently developing off the coast of Gippsland would bring strong winds, heavy rain and the potential for flash flooding.
“There’s currently some showers about Victoria, but that rain will intensify, particularly about west Gippsland and the Central Highlands to the north of Melbourne overnight,” he said.
“It’ll be wet right across the state, but really the areas of most concern are through the Gippsland district and about the Central Highlands.
“In terms of rainfall totals, the most significant time will be from late Wednesday afternoon through to until Thursday afternoon.
“In that 24 hour period, we’re likely to see accumulations of rain of 70 to 120mm of rain widespread across those areas, but locally higher totals of 150 to 250mm about the higher peaks of west Gippsland and the central ranges.
“A flood watch has been issued for eastern and central catchments of Victoria, and it is likely that we’ll see those rivers responding to that significant amount of rainfall
“The rivers may remain quite high for a number of days as well, so we’re advising everyone to stay well-informed during this weather event as flood warnings and watches are likely to be updated and issued quite regularly.”
Mr Arvier said the flood risk would continue into the remainder of the week, but the heaviest rainfall was likely to ease tomorrow morning.
“The rain will continue throughout the day on Thursday, but the heaviest falls are likely during the overnight period tonight, and then easing back tomorrow morning – continuing to be rainy throughout the day, but that rainfall rate really starting to decrease as the day goes on.
“The winds are going to be peaking overnight around midnight, and continuing during the early morning, but then starting to ease during the morning.
“Because of the rain, it does take a while for the rivers to respond sometimes, so those rivers probably will be remaining high for a number of days, and a little bit more rain on the way on Saturday about those areas is likely to keep those rivers high.”
Mr Arvier said earlier this morning, wind gusts of up to 120kmh were recorded at Mount William, but winds were likely to strengthen overnight.
“We’re looking at very, very strong winds right through central Victoria, including metropolitan Melbourne, where we’re looking at sustained winds of 50 to 70kmh but with peak gusts of 90 to 100kmh right throughout that area,” he said.
“Even stronger winds are likely through elevated areas, so around Macedon, in the central ranges and also some of the higher peaks in west Gippsland – so coinciding with that heavy rain we could be seeing peak gusts of up to 120kmh.
“These are damaging wind gusts, so we could see some significant impacts such as branches being blown out of trees and outdoor furniture being blown around – so very strong winds.”
Mr Arvier said snow had fallen about 1000m above sea level this morning, but during today and tomorrow, the snow level would lift.
“Areas above around 1700m are more likely to see that snow remain, where it will be cold enough to continue falling as snow as opposed to rain, however in some parts of the ranges that snow may wash away.”
Mr Arvier urged everyone to stay well informed.
“The best way to do that is to keep an eye on our website and the app; we’ll be issuing warnings and flood watches regularly,” he said.
Currently, there are severe weather, sheep graziers and gale wind warnings in place for Gippsland, as well as a flood watch.
Another weather update is expected from the Bureau of Meteorology about 2pm.
Southern Rural Water has advised the heavy rainfall may cause flooding in some areas, including around the Latrobe, Macalister and Thomson rivers.
Lake Glenmaggie is currently at 36.8 per cent capacity (current as of noon Tuesday, June 8).
The water authority indicated it would provide updates as required.
To stay on top of current weather warnings, visit bom.gov.au/vic/warnings or emergency.vic.gov.au.
For an emergency service response regarding floodwaters, phone the State Emergency Service on 132 500.
In life-threatening situations, phone 000.