CHILTERN’S Lesley and Bruce Mackie are facing another mammoth clean-up effort after a torrential downpour flooded the town’s main street yesterday evening.
Residents say heavy rain turned the street into a river within minutes as the storm struck Chiltern about 6pm.
The Mackies’ Grantees Takeway and Newsagency store has now been hit by flooding twice in 15 months.
A total of 94 millimetres of rain was recorded at the Chiltern post office yesterday, most of it coming in the storm.
Grantees employee and Chiltern resident Jen Nightingale said the street was flooded within 10 minutes of the downpour.
“By the time it reached the gutter it was probably about two minutes until it came to the door, it came up really quick,” she said.
“I think the drains just couldn’t handle the rain we had.”
Last night the store’s shell-shocked owners were reliving a nightmare they had already experienced in November 2010, contemplating having to close their business for the clean-up yet again.
The Mackies’ nearby home was also flooded — and this time they won’t have any financial help to get back on their feet, as they were refused flood cover for their home by every insurance company they approached.
Instead of going to sleep last night, the Mackies said they would wait for the arrival of their newspapers after midnight.
Today they’ll sell The Border Mail on the footpath in front of their shop, which is now streaked in mud.
Despite being faced with loss of earnings and a damage bill in its thousands, Mrs Mackie vowed last night: “We’ll be back, like last time”.
The SES received 20 calls for help from Chiltern residents after about 6pm, the local crew and back-up from Yackandandah responding to reports of water inundation and building damage.
A hairdresser was another business reportedly hit, residents saying that at one point more than 100 metres of Conness Street was under water.
The flooding subsided after about half an hour, and North East duty officer Steve Schneider said the SES had done everything it could to help by 8.30pm.
However, more bad news could be on its way, as even heavier downfalls are predicated to hit the North East later today.
The Bureau of Metrology said at least 20 to 40 millimetres have been forecast to fall over today and tomorrow afternoon, with a possibility of 100 millimetres if thunderstorms hit.
Duty forecaster Terry Ryan said there was a chance of more flash flooding in Chiltern and other North East towns.
A flood watch has been issued for today and tomorrow.
The SES has urged the public to stay well clear of floodwaters and to also enact their flood plans.