Deluge of rain dumps on the Valley

Michelle Slater

The Latrobe Valley’s low-lying areas remain soggy after the weekend’s downpour when the region received almost a month’s worth of rain in a couple of days.

More than 80 millimetres of rainfall was recorded in the Latrobe River catchment over the weekend, sparking the SES to issue a moderate flood warning for parts of the catchment on Sunday.

Gippsland SES community resilience communicator Jane Fontana said there were 110 call-outs from Thursday through to Sunday with Morwell and Warragul being the busiest units.

She said many of the calls involved flood assistance, building damage or trees down, but stressed there was no major damage.

“A lot of low-lying areas were in natural flood plains where water was accumulating on low-lying land causing some roads to be impacted,” Ms Fontana said.

“We had such a deluge in a short period and in some residential communities some drains back-flowed and people were concerned.”

The Latrobe River reached a moderate flood level at Toms Bridge on Monday peaking at 5.38 metres, while the Morwell River appeared swollen at 1.97 metres at Boolarra on Saturday, but remained below minor flood levels.

Bureau of Meteorology hydrologist David Wilson said water at Toms Bridge was expected to recede below the minor flood level on Tuesday, given that no significant rainfall was forecast.

The big wet also filled Moondarra reservoir with 1600 megalitres, sending excess water down Tyers River on to Latrobe River.

Gippsland Water said Blue Rock reservoir was expected to reach capacity by early next week.

Gippsland Water managing director Sarah Cumming said the Latrobe system’s water supply was in a great position heading into the warmer seasons.

“While this is great news for our customers in and around the Latrobe Valley, we are conscious that customers to the north-east within our area are still experiencing dry conditions,” Ms Cumming said.

“This means that it’s important for all customers to continue to treat water as the precious resource that it is, and observe Victoria’s permanent water saving rules.”