MORE than 100 people were evacuated from homes at Benalla on Saturday night as the Broken River hit the major flood level.
A swollen Lake Benalla split the city in two; with Bridge Street and the stock bridge closed, the sole access between the east and west sides of the city was via the Hume Freeway.
The river peaked in the city at 4.10 metres about 8am yesterday, 40 centimetres above its major flood level, with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting rises downstream of Benalla into today.
The receding flood was last night expected to allow Bridge Street to reopen today.
Relief centres were set up on either side of Benalla, at the two Benalla Secondary College campuses in Dunlop Place and Faithful Street, to provide shelter and food to the displaced.
But Benalla mayor Bill Hill last night said the evacuees had been returned to their homes and there was no indication any houses had been flooded.
Meanwhile, furniture donated to a Marysville resident who lost his house, wife and son on Black Saturday was threatened as Cathy Donehue’s Arundel Street backyard flooded.
The goods, destined for Mrs Donehue’s brother-in-law as he rebuilds his life from the bushfires, were under a carport.
Water had reached the top of the home’s back steps about 3am yesterday but stopped short of entering the house.
“I lost my sister and nephew in those fires; I thought we can’t get flooded now,” Mrs Donehue said later in the day, as she surveyed her still water-logged backyard.
“The furniture was donated from a friend of mine. I’m pleased to see it stayed put, although it’s a bit damp.”
Glennis Leith, whose elderly parents’ home neighbours Mrs Donehue’s, spent the night keeping vigil with her sister.
A retaining wall built about 50 years ago to ward off floods did its job, keeping the worst of the water at bay.
The family were among those to receive emergency alerts advising them their home might be inundated but decided to stay, spending a sleepless night monitoring the risk every 30 minutes.