Tense wait for flood-affected towns

As floodwaters continue to rise in Victoria the State Emergency Service (SES) says its biggest concern is Shepparton in the the state’s north-east.

Up to 200 homes in the town could be affected by flooding from the Broken and Goulburn rivers and residents have spent another tense night with river levels yet to peak.

SES spokesman Lachlan Quick says there are two major areas of concern – one in the north-east and one in the west.

“We’re going to have a very close look at Shepparton overnight and the Greater Shepparton area, and Horsham as well,” he said.

“It’s got a couple of rivers that go through there and if they go above what we predict, there’s a chance it could impact between 50 and 200 homes.

“As the Wimmera River in the Horsham area starts to wind its way through we’re starting to see some floodwater already make its way there, and that will impact somewhere between probably 40 to 50 houses in Horsham.”

Flooding in Horsham is expected to peak this morning and the council says the local sports centre is being prepared as an emergency evacuation centre.

At nearby Wangaratta dozens of residents spent the night in emergency accommodation, after 60 homes near a weak levee bank along the King River were evacuated.

In north-central Victoria water reached shops in the main street of Charlton, where the local hospital has been sandbagged and the police station closed.

SES State operations manager Tim Wiebusch says people need to be prepared for possible isolation or inundation.

“They need to have their mobile phones charged – particularly their cordless phones at home – so that if we do need to alert them via that system we can get those important evacuation and alert messages out,” Mr Wiebusch said.

Meanwhile, police have banned swimming and boating on some waterways affected by flooding until Thursday.

There is a ban on swimming and the anchoring or mooring of vessels on the Goulburn River from the Weir to the junction of the Murray River.

The ban also affects the Gowangardie Weir and Broken River to the junction of the Goulburn.

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