Wimmera storm watch 2017 | how it unfolded

Horsham Weir. Picture: Samantha Camarri
Horsham Weir. Picture: Samantha Camarri

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UPDATE: 3.10pm

Cricket most likely to go ahead

Horsham Cricket Association secretary Darren Chesterfield is confident there will be some cricket played across the weekend.

“I would think some matches will go ahead, unless there is more heavy rain overnight,” Mr Chesterfield said. 

“Even with a little bit of rain and the matches should be okay.”

Mr Chesterfield said it was up to each club to ensure their pitches were covered during the wet weather to ensure the games go ahead.

“City Oval is looking good and the pitch was covered,” he said.

“A few of the ovals were covered, so I think there should be some cricket on the weekend.”

UPDATE: 1.43pm

Safety first for tennis players

Central Wimmera Tennis Association president Kate-Lynn Perkin is not expecting many tennis matches to go ahead this weekend due to the rainfall. 

“I’m not confident that there will be a lot of tennis played,” she said.

“If it’s raining at 12.30pm most matches will be called off. People don’t want to travel to the courts to find out at 1.30pm that they can’t play.”

Ms Perkin said that the association wanted to make sure the players’ safety was put first. 

“The courts won’t be dry enough to play if it’s raining at 12.30pm,” she said.

“You have to consider the safety of everyone and we don’t want people playing on slippery courts.” 

Junior matches are scheduled each Saturday to start at 9.30am with senior matches starting from 1.30pm.

UPDATE: 1.28pm

Cricket, swimming cancelled

All Grampians Cricket Association games have been called off due to forecast rain in the region tomorrow.

Association president Dave Turner said a meeting was hosted on Friday morning where the decision was made.

“We have just called all games off with uncertainty surrounding the weather,” he said.

“Where a result has already been decided, it will stand and games that are in balance will have the points shared.

“All B Grade games will split the points as well.”

The cancellations include junior games scheduled for Friday night and Sunday.

Turner said it was a commonsense decision.

“Player safety is the main priority for us,” he said.

UPDATE: 12.51pm

Rain moves on from the Wimmera

The worst of the wet weather could be over for the region, with rain forecasts diminishing on Friday afternoon.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Steve McGibbony said the Wimmera had received between 15mm and 30mm on rain.

He said the wettest areas had been Dimboola with 41mm, Apsley with 42mm and Navarre with 44mm. 

Horsham has received 26mm of rain so far.

Mr McGibbony said the region wouldn't receive much more rain for the rest of Friday.

"The system has moved on to the east of the state now," he said.

"There will be further systems developing, but they will mostly be to the east of the Wimmera.

"The region might get a few millimetres for the rest of the day, but probably not much."

Mr McGibbony said another low pressure system would develop over northern Victoria on Saturday.

It will mostly affect the north-west part of the state, so the Mallee region, as well as central Victoria, so there won't be much for the Wimmera

Steve McGibbony

"The region can expect between 5mm and 15mm on Saturday."

Mr Gibbony said in total the wet weather could bring 20mm to 60mm to the region.

"However, most of that has already fallen," he said.

UPDATE: 12.47pm

Horsham prepared: council

Horsham Rural City Council technical services John Martin said the conditions appear to be different in comparison to other parts of the state. 

Yesterday afternoon council started lowering the Horsham Weir pool and organised sandbags at Natimuk in readiness for a possible flood event. 

Mr Martin said council had preparations ready - sandbags, staff resources and lowering the weir. 

He said they are well placed and have the resources to cater to all possibilities. 

"We have preparations in place since yesterday, but the Natimuk and Wimmera catchment has been well below the forecast," he said. 

"At this stage, we just have to watch and see if further rain develops.

"If the rain emerges we will get the people in to provide people with assistance."

UPDATE: 12.46pm

SES still on flood watch

SES Mid West Operations Manager Kendra Clegg said the SES is still on flood watch and ready to act should heavy rain fall in the Wimmera over the next few days. 

44mm fell in Navarre overnight while 40mm fell in St Arnaud. It looks as though the heavy front originally predicted may have passed over the central Wimmera region with less rain than was forecast. 

Ms Clegg said the SES was still monitoring the situation and were ready to act should any floods arise. 

"We were watching Natimuk and Halls Gap, as they can flood," Ms Clegg said. 

"We had sandbags ready to go, but it looks like they won't be used."

Ms Clegg praised the efforts of the local shires, emergency services and GWMWater for their prepardness of the situation. 

"GWM has released water from the Wartook resevoir, which was at full capacity," Ms Clegg said. 

The forecast was state-wide for possible flash flooding, so there was a lot of work to prepare. The time and effort put in by everyone has been fantastic.

Kendra Clegg

Ms Clegg said the event had been interesting and it looked as if Horsham and the Wimmera could avoid the previously predicted heavy rainfalls.

"We will get rain but it won't be that heavy front," Ms Clegg said. 

"The community has been very concerned, it has been a strange event. We're still on flood watch for the Wimmera and monitoring the situation." 

Ms Clegg also said the heavy rains in surrounding towns could affect Horsham next week. 

"The rain can have an impact in days to come," Ms Clegg said. 

"We are watching that the Wimmera River doesn't flood. It could also affect storm drains into mid-next week." 

Ms Clegg urged residents not to get complacent and to always act responsibly and safely in wet weather. 

"We can never emphasise enough how important it is that individuals and households understand the risk of the area that they are in to storms, floods or fire and stay informed of the weather," she said. 

"If you are driving when the weather turns severe, drive to the conditions – turn of the cruise control, drive safely and stay alert."

UPDATE: 12.35pm

Sandbag info for Natimuk residents

For those residents requiring sandbags, the collection point in the Wimmera is at Natimuk:

  • 123 Main Street.
  • Median strip at the corner Main Street and Lake Road.

Sandbags will not stop the water completely but can reduce the amount of water entering your home. During low level flooding, sandbags placed in the right locations around your home can reduce the impact of flooding.

UPDATE: 12.27pm

Pulford in Beaufort

Flood impact info from Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford at Beaufort.

Ms Pulford talks about flood risk in Beaufort earlier today.

“We expect that roads and rail will be affected, and we’re encouraging people to think about not involving themselves in any unnecessary travel.

“For our farmers, this is really, just terrible, terrible timing.”

Fairfax Media was there live, see the video below.

For more on Ms Pulford’s press conference today, click here.

UPDATE: 11.45am

Power outages remain in Stawell and Concongella

There are currently power outages in Stawell and Concongella due to storm activity. 

The outage was caused by a fault on Landsborough Road in Concongella. 

It is estimated that power will be restored at noon. 

Current power outages.

Current power outages.

The cause of power outages in Great Western and Beulah are still under investigation. 

The power will be restored in Beulah at approximately 1.30pm and in Great Western at 4pm.

Powercor media public and affairs manager Emma Tyner said crews have been working throughout the night to restore power for customers. 

She said customers could stay updated through the outages map here

UPDATE: 11.40am

We have a cool interactive map for you all. See how the storm will play out over time.

UPDATE: 11.28am

Roadworks tipped to have heavy rainfall: VicRoads

VicRoads has advised that roadworks near Horsham might be affected by heavy rainfall. 

There is the potential for potholes during and after the rain event with speeds to be reduced to 40 kilometres an hour.

Possible flash flooding locations on the Western Highway include Dadswells Bridge and Kiata.

VicRoads reminds all road users of the importance of taking extreme care in difficult driving conditions.

When the bad weather arrives consider whether your travel is essential and avoid using the road network if possible. If you do have to drive there are some simple steps to improve road safety:

  • Wet weather should be a prompt to slow down on the roads.
  • Don't walk, ride or drive through flood water. You wouldn’t drive through flames, so don’t drive through floods.
  • Cars can float in as little as 15cm of water – that’s water the depth of an average pen. 
  • Leave a greater distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front.
  • Turn your headlights on.
  • Be alert for other road users who may be difficult to see, such as motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.
  • If the rain is too heavy for your wipers to cope, the best course of action is to pull over and wait until visibility improves.
  • Make sure your car is safe and in a roadworthy condition – in particular, check tyres, windscreen wipers and brake lights. Most importantly – be patient.

UPDATE: 11.23am

Grain receival sites in the region were flat out this week as growers tried to store their grain before the wet weather.

Shannon Bros has storage sites at Beulah and Horsham.

The company's Clayton Shannon said both sites were closed about 2pm on Thursday.

"It was fairly hectic up until then but we had to close early unfortunately," he said.

"We tried to accommodate growers as much as we could up until then."

Mr Shannon said staff worked until 11pm on Thursday to tried to get all the bunkers secured.

"It was hectic and painful, but we got there," he said.

He said it would now be a waiting game to see when harvest would resume.

"II can't see us re-opening before Monday at this stage," he said.

"We'll just have to wait and see - it will depend on how much damage the wet weather does, but we'll assess everything as we go."

UPDATE: 10.58am

Readers are sending in how much rain they received at their place overnight.

  • Kim Westerland – 18mm at Rich Avon
  • Roslyn Woods – 23ml at Watchem West
  • Renae Maher – 22.5mm at Wai Wai/Lubeck
  • Rae Bound – 14ml at Winiam via Nhill
  • Bill Bloodworth – 23.5mm at Dadswells Bridge
  • Gary Williams – 40ml at Dimboola
  • Noreen Crutchfield – 24ml at Horsham
  • Karen Fischer – 27ml at Drung
  • Leanne Rhodes – 31mm at Concongella
  • Sally Anne Bolwell – 20ml at Dooen
  • Jane Toscano – 25mm at Warracknabeal
  • Gayle Barlow – 22ml at Murtoa
  • Christine Bailey – 13ml at Donald
  • Bob Smith – 23.5mm at Birch Avenue, Horsham
  • Barry Gross – 25mm at Horsham
  • Chad Robbins – 11mm at Nurrabiel
  • Bruce Williams – 33mm at Armstrong
  • Kristine Horrocks – 26ml at Pomonal Road, Black Range
  • Lowana Wayne Taylor – 28ml at Horsham
  • Helen Cannell – 24mm at Boyeo
  • Joe Chivell – 35ml at Rosebery west
  • Claire Kelly – 7.5mm at Woomelang, 22mm at Hopetoun
  • Andrew Trenery 18mm at Propadollah
  • Barb Moore – 27ml at Beulah
  • Glenn Dunstan – 19mm at Donald
  • Adrian Jaeschke – 18mm Tarranyurk
  • Adrian Banger Rattray – 35mm overnight at Great Western
  • Andrew Zeppel – 22.5mm at Para Vista

UPDATE: 10.46am

Beulah farmer Ross Williams recorded 27mm overnight.

"There were huge claps of thunder over night, but it seems to have cleared up now - just the odd little spit here and there," he said.

At Rupanyup, grower Ash Teasdale recorded 25mm.

"There are still a few little showers going through now, but it's barely measurable - mostly misty rain at the moment," he said.

"The forecast seems to have backed off for Friday now, so hopefully we don't get too much more rain and it will be alright."

At Gymbowen, Anthony Lowe recorded 10mm overnight and another 5mm on Friday morning.

UPDATE 10.20am:

A number of events scheduled for this weekend have been relocated in light of the forecast. 

Relocated: Horsham carols will move to Horsham Town Hall. There will be two shows – from 6.30pm to 8pm and from 8.30pm to 10pm. The show in the theatre will be live streamed in the town hall. 

Postponed: Uniting Wimmera Christmas Party moved to Thursday, December 7 from 6.30pm until 8.30pm at the Horsham Botanic Gardens playground. 

The Makers Gallery Christmas market has moved to Saturday, December 9. The market will run from 9am to 1.30pm at the library. 

Unchanged: Haven Christmas Market is on Saturday 9am at the Haven Recreation Reserve. 

To be confirmed: Sporting events across the region have wet weather policies in place. We will update the status of games where possible throughout the day. 

UPDATE 10.15am:

The Bureau of Meteorology issued this warning this morning: 

A trough of low pressure currently over far western Victoria will move slowly across the state during the next two days. A low pressure system will develop on the trough over north-western Victoria on Friday, then move slowly south-eastwards. Milder, less humid southerly winds will develop behind the low, as a new high pressure system forms in the Bight.

Heavy rain and scattered thunderstorms which may lead to flash flooding are forecast in the state's central and western districts, extending across remaining parts of the state during Friday, while easing in the far southwest later. Heavy rain and thunderstorm activity will continue throughout Saturday, though is forecast to ease in western Victoria. The heavy rain will contract to the southeast during Sunday.

Three day rain totals of 100mm to 200mm are expected across most northern and central regions of the State. Elsewhere totals are likely to be between 30mm and 100mm. Over the north-east ranges falls may exceed 250mm.

Locations which may be affected include Mildura, Horsham, Warrnambool, Bendigo, Shepparton, Seymour, Maryborough, Ballarat, Geelong, Melbourne, Wodonga, Wangaratta, Traralgon and Bairnsdale.

The State Emergency Service advises that people should: 

  • Don't walk, ride or drive through flood water; 
  • Keep clear of creeks and storm drains; 
  • Be aware that in fire affected areas, rainfall run-off into waterways may contain debris such as ash, soil, trees and rocks; 
  • Be alert that in areas recently affected by fires, heavy rainfall increases the potential for landslides and debris across roads.

The bureau also issued this warning to sheep graziers: 

“Sheep graziers are warned that cool temperatures, heavy rain and showers and southerly winds are expected during Friday and Saturday. Areas likely to be affected include the Wimmera, North Central, South West and Central forecast districts. There is a risk of losses of lambs and sheep exposed to these conditions,” the bureau said.

The next severe weather warning will be issued by 11am.

EARLIER:

Record-breaking rain is bearing down across the state, triggering warnings of dangerous flash flooding across the state. 

After a scorching end to spring, the Wimmera is forecast to record a month's worth of rain in just two days, and possibly an entire summer's worth of rain in the season's first three days.

Horsham has received 26mm in the 24 hours to 9am today while Dimboola received 41mm, Ararat 34mm, Stawell 29mm, Beulah and Kaniva 27mm, Warracknabeal 22mm and Nhill 20mm.

Edenhope recorded 25mm while nearby at Apsley the Bureau of Meteorology recorded 42mm.

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