Severe weather warning for heavy rainfall issued

Staff writers

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe weather warning for heavy rainfall across much of Victoria, including the Latrobe Valley.

The latest advice issued at 10.38am today, the warning is for people in Mallee, Northern Country, North Central, North East and parts of Central, East Gippsland, West and South Gippsland and Wimmera Forecast Districts.

A low pressure system currently over South Australia is expected to deepen through today while moving southeastwards, extending a trough over Victoria this evening with the low to then pass just north of the state on tomorrow morning.

Showers expected to increase to widespread heavy rainfall which may lead to flash flooding about central Victoria and the eastern highlands during this evening, extending to the Mallee and Gippsland early tomorrow morning.

Broad rainfall rates of 10 to 35mm over six hours are likely within the warning area with up to 60mm over six hours possible.

Rain areas will begin contracting eastward during tomorrow morning before clearing the state on tomorrow evening.

An Initial Flood Watch is current for North East Victoria and parts of Central Victoria and Gippsland.

Locations which may be affected include Moe, Trafalgar, Bendigo, Shepparton, Seymour, Castlemaine, Kyneton, Wangaratta and the outer metropolitan area of Melbourne.

The State Emergency Service advises that people should:

* Be aware that in fire affected areas, rainfall run-off into waterways may contain debris such as ash, soil, trees and rocks.

* Be alert that in areas recently affected by fires, heavy rainfall increases the potential for landslides and debris across roads.

* Check that loose items such as outdoor settings, umbrellas and trampolines are safely secured and move vehicles under cover or away from trees.

* Stay indoors and away from windows.

* If outdoors, move to a safe place indoors. Stay away from trees, drains, gutters, creeks and waterways.

* If driving conditions are dangerous, safely pull over away from trees, drains, low-lying areas and floodwater. Avoid travel if possible.

* Stay safe by avoiding dangerous hazards, such as floodwater, mud, debris, damaged roads and fallen trees.

* Stay away from fallen powerlines always assume they are live.

* Stay informed monitor weather warnings, forecasts and river levels at the Bureau of Meteorology website, and warnings through VicEmergency.