The North East of Victoria is in flood. Affected areas include Wangaratta, Everton, Tarrawingee, Londrigan, Eldorado, Benalla and Bowser. We are providing live updates this afternoon and this evening of road closures, relief centres and more forecast heavy rain falls. Stay with us for the latest emergency information.
Put off travel if you can - that's the advice from VicRoads tonight.
“If your travel isn’t absolutely necessary, delay your journey where possible,” a VicRoads spokesperson said.
VicRoads is appealing to any North East motorists who do not have to travel to delay journeys, as flood waters remain around the region.
HUME HIGHWAY: The Hume Highway remains closed in both directions between parts of Barnawartha and Benalla, due to flooding. A detour is set up through Shepparton and Yarrawonga, with Melbourne-bound traffic diverting at the Murray Valley Highway and Sydney-bound traffic at the Goulburn Valley Highway from Seymour or the Midland Highway from Benalla.
ALBURY to HOWLONG: The Riverina Highway is closed in both directions because of flooding between Albury and Howlong. You can divert using Kywong-Howlong Road, Urana Road, Wagga Road, Mate Street, North Street and Young Street in both directions before rejoining the Riverina Highway. The diversion is suitable for all vehicles.
GREAT ALPINE ROAD: The Great Alpine Road, Federation Way and the Beechworth-Wangaratta Road are affected by road closures due to major flooding.
Severe flash flooding in Dean Street, Albury this evening with the deluge that began just before 5pm. Samuel Peter Klein posted this Facebook video as he and a friend were heading to Games Workshop.
We’ve had reports that half the Myer shopping centre was closed due to flooding and there’s been a ceiling collapse at Westend Plaza.
We’ll have more on the damage and clean up of the major centres affected in today’s floods – with a focus on the Wangaratta, Wodonga and Albury regions.
Heavy rainfall has caused chaos in the North East, with dozens of people needing to be rescued from their submerged vehicles on the Hume Freeway.
Our reporter Blair Thomson was on the ground in Wangaratta today and nearly got caught himself. Here’s his story with an exceptional gallery of photos: UPDATE, GALLERY: Helicopter used to winch stranded people from cars on Hume
Relief Centres are open in Wangaratta, Chiltern and Wodonga for those impacted by flooding in the north east of the state. Details as follows:-
If you don’t think you can make it home or water is rising near you, please call into one of these centres.
With those localised downpours, VIC SES has issued another flash flood warning in the last hour for Wangaratta, Byawatha, Peechelba, Markwood, Everton, Carboor and Moyhu.
A severe weather warning for heavy rainfall and thunderstorms remains in place for parts of NSW and Victoria. Locations which may be affected include Wodonga, Wangaratta, Albury, Wagga Wagga, Deniliquin, Mildura and Seymour.
In NSW, severe thunderstorms are currently producing damaging winds, heavy rain that may lead to flash flooding, and large hail. There is a risk for destructive winds and giant hailstones in isolated storms in the warning area.
In Victoria, rain areas and thunderstorms are expected across the warning area during, with periods of heavy rainfall likely that may lead to flash flooding. Rainfall totals of 5 to 30mm are expected with locally higher totals of 30 to 50mm. Localised falls of 50 to 100mm are possible over the northwest tonight.
That heavy rain band is right over Wodonga at the moment. Take care as the Bureau of Meteorology is still forecasting heavy falls for this evening with the most likely area for heavy rain on and north of the ranges. The highest rainfall totals for today include:
All of the above are located in the North East district.
Our reporter Blair Thomson took this video on the northbound Hume Highway at Wangaratta as SES crews were preparing to rescue drivers of stranded cars and police winched a member of the public to safety. The Hume Freeway remains closed in both directions between Barnawartha and Wangaratta. VicRoads advises there is a detour through Yarrawonga, with Melbourne-bound traffic diverting at the Murray Valley Highway and Sydney-bound traffic at the Goulburn Valley Highway.
A spokesman said that while it appeared the worst of the rain has passed, there was still major flooding on many roads.
Emergency services including Victoria Police and the SES are assisting drivers caught in and near floodwater, and VicRoads is helping with diversions for traffic.
Motorists need to drive to the conditions, remembering that braking distance doubles in the wet.
VicRoads said the road would be reopened as soon as it is safe to do so and once the flooding subsides, the road will be inspected for damage.
Tarrawingee is one of the worst affected areas from the heavy downpours and flash flooding. Here’s a video taken by Elizabeth Ellis at her place.
And you might recognise this intersection.
Rural City of Wangaratta Chief Executive Officer Brendan McGrath said the full damage from the heavy rain and flooding would not be known for days. The biggest impacts looks to have been in the Tarrawingee, Londrigan, Eldorado areas.
“We know there has been some significant damage with the loss of two bridges,” he said.
“Once the waters recede Council will be able to properly assess the damage to roads, culverts and other infrastructure.”
Two rural bridges were washed away by flash flooding and up to a dozen Council roads closed (in addition to the closures on major highways and the Hume Freeway). The bridges were at Kays Road, Tarrawingee and Farmers Road, Everton Upper. And walking tracks around Wangaratta have been closed.
Council has received 30 reports of damage and flooding, as well as fielding up to 60 phone calls an hour from people seeking emergency contact numbers and road closure information.
Council also set up a relief centre at the HP Barr Reserve at the request of Victoria Police to assist anyone affected by the flash flooding.
It’s also understood there has been several stock losses, stock on the loose and fences damaged.
Council roads affected by closures have been (Note: many roads may re-open ahead of media print/broadcast times and some additional roads may be added to this list):
Vic Traffic has two further road updates:
Great Alpine Road CLOSED due to flooding between Wangaratta and Tarrawingee. Northbound traffic from the Hume Freeway is being detoured back onto Hume towards Benalla then on detour via Midland Highway
For those stranded in Wangaratta, two relief centres have been set up in Wangaratta at H.P Barr Reserve, Shilling Drive and Chiltern Memorial Hall. All welcome.
Eyewatch - Wangaratta Police Service Area has this advice:
A flood warning has been issued for Wangaratta, Byawatha, Peechelba, Markwood, Everton, Carboor, Moyhu and surrounding areas including the Hume Freeway.
VICSES and emergency service partners are responding to a number of vehicles trapped in floodwater on the Hume Freeway at Byawatha, near Wangaratta.
Two relief centres have been set up in Wangaratta at H.P Barr Reserve, Shilling Drive and Chiltern Memorial Hall.
A Flood Watch has been issued for Greater Melbourne, West and South Gippsland and parts of Northern and South West Victoria.
Vic Traffic has these road updates:
The Hume Freeway is currently closed both directions between Barnawartha and Wangaratta due to flooding. Southbound traffic is being diverted at The Murray Valley Highway through to Cobram, then south on the Goulburn Valley Highway. Northbound detours have been set up at the Goulburn Valley Highway for Sydney-bound traffic. Access to Benalla and Wangaratta is still possible but traffic heading further north should take The Goulburn Valley Highway. Traffic is being diverted through Shepparton.
VIC SES has issued this update:
And Vic Traffic has issued this update:
More moderate to heavy rain is approaching Wangaratta. In the 26 hours to 11am this morning, Wangaratta has had 60mm of rain and Everton 161.6mm. We’ll have more updates on the road closures in the Ovens Valley and King Valley shortly.
Vic Emergency has issued this advice for Wangaratta and Byawatha.
WARNING - FLOOD
Incident Location: Wangaratta, Byawatha and surrounding areas including the Hume Freeway
Issue Date: Thursday 13 December 2018, 12:53 pm
This Warning is being issued for Wangaratta, Byawatha and surrounding areas including the Hume Freeway.
- Heavy rainfall is causing localised flash flooding.
- You can stay safe by avoiding flooded areas.
- Floodwater can be very deep, rise quickly and move fast.
- You should avoid travelling, if possible.
If you are located in Wangaratta, Byawatha and surrounding areas including the Hume Freeway, you are in danger. You should immediately move indoors, away from floodwater. Do not enter floodwater.
More details at http://emergency.vic.gov.au/respond/#!/warning/5435/moreinfo
Next Update: Thursday 13 December 2018, 04:00 pm
Truck driver James Campion sent us these photos of this sports car with these words: “Been stuck since just after 10am and as the water rises so does the stupidity of some people. This car tried to cut up the side to only be turned around as the water levels were even higher up further.”
This is a photo from Destiny McPhail of a car that is stuck in flood waters near Wangaratta.
One of our readers who is a truck driver just got through Three Chain Road at Wangaratta, however authorities will be closing the road because it is unsafe with the rising water levels.
Advice from Wangaratta Police Service Area: Motorists are advised the Hume Freeway is currently flooded between Wangaratta and Rutherglen. Federation Way north of Wangaratta to Bowser is also affected.
Road closures are in place and traffic is being diverted. Drivers are urged to plan their journeys, take caution and drive to the conditions.
Advice from Wodonga Council: The Hume Freeway northbound is closed at Barnawartha. Traffic is being diverted through Shepparton onto The Murray Valley Highway to Wodonga. Allow extra time. Drive with caution. Keep your lights on. Do not drive through flood waters.
Traffic is currently being diverted from the Hume Highway northbound only to Three Chain Road at Wangaratta. However, a car has gone too far in the flood water and is blocking traffic from making the diversion. There are cars and trucks banked up. Emergency services are trying to clear this blockage and will close Three Chain Road because the water is rising.
Southbound traffic on the Hume Highway can still get through.
The Hume Highway is closed northbound after flash-flooding lead people and cars to become stranded.
About 50 cars are stranded in floodwater on the road, near Byawatha.
Emergency services are on the scene, with the SES getting flood boats into the water.
There are extensive delays to north-bound traffic.
Emergency services have appealed to drivers to take care and cautioned not to drive through flood waters.
More to come.
HUME FREEWAY: Indigo Creek Road, Barnawartha.
Further details: Heavy rain is causing significant delays on the Hume Freeway between Wangaratta and Wodonga. Expect lane closures both directions. Drive with caution. Do not drive through flood waters.
HUME FREEWAY: Hume Freeway is closed northbound at the Goulburn Valley Highway due to flooding. Traffic is being diverted through Shepparton onto the Murray Valley Highway to Wodonga. Allow extra time. Drive with caution. Keep your lights on. Do not drive through flood waters.
GREAT ALPINE ROAD: Beechworth-Wangaratta Road, Tarrawingee.
Further details: .Great Alpine Road is currently closed both directions between Tarrawingee and Everton due to flooding. Allow extra time. Drive with caution. Keep your lights on. Do not drive through flood waters.
FEDERATION WAY: Springhurst.
Further details: .Flooding has closed Federation Way in both directions. Look out for diversions Allow extra time. Drive with caution. Keep your lights on. Do not drive through flood waters.
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