Weather warning: North East the ‘prime location’ for storms

Premier Daniel Andrews has called the mayors of the North East, reaching out as the region prepares to be inundated with up to 250mm of rain on Saturday.

He spoke to mayors of Indigo, Wangaratta, Benalla and Alpine councils on Friday as well as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, saying they had started planning resources for the clean up phase after the weekend’s expected storms.

“The North East is going to be particularly hard hit by this extreme weather over the next couple of days,” Mr Andrews said.

Emergency services commissioner Craig Lapsley acknowledged Friday did not produce overly high rainfall – Albury recorded 15.8mm, Wangaratta 9.4mm and 66mm – but urged people to be prepared.

“We’re not out of it - it hasn’t necessarily been across the state yet, but it’s coming … Modeling shows the Ovens and King rivers are likely to get the largest amount of rain in them and any of those community by the river, including Wangaratta, would have to be the prime locations,” he said.

“The Ovens and King (rivers) for example have got an ability to absorb a significant amount of rain in the river system, but then it’s about where it spreads out.

“You go to places like Myrtleford, Bright, Porepunkah at the top end of the catchments right through to Wangaratta at the bottom - that’s where two rivers join together and if those rivers peak at the same time, we have those issues.”

The SES was called out to three instances of minor flooding of buildings in Beechworth on Friday afternoon, but emergency services were generally quiet.

An incident control centre has been set up in Wangaratta and boats from the water police have come to the North East from Melbourne on stand by.

The Melbourne to Albury rail line was also closed as a precaution, with train services replaced by buses.

“The message to the community is still to be prepared about your local community, your local environment to ensure you can act,” Mr Lapsley said.