Tens of thousands of Victorian residents remained without power or telecommunications as heavy rainfall and flooding continued to impact large parts of the state.
Communities without phone coverage and unable to call triple-zero included: Trentham, King Lake, Dandenong Ranges, South Gippsland, Gembrook, Pyalong, Don Valley, Healesville, Lancefield and Woori Yallock.
More than 56,000 electricity customers were off supply, according to AusNet.
The health minister, Martin Foley, said on Saturday repair crews were working to repair gas leaks and powerlines from fallen trees in the Dandenong Ranges.
Given that two lives had been lost in flood waters this week, he implored Victorians to make safe decisions.
“Never drive through flooded roads, avoid the Yarra and Dandenong Ranges,” he said.
People evacuated from the Traralgon area were given the all clear to return home, as the flood risk began easing in some parts of the Gippsland and Yarra Ranges.
Emergency services were surveying the damage, having predicted flood levels would rise overnight in the Yarra River at Yarra Glen, the Thomson River near Sale and Traralgon Creek near Traralgon.
Anyone living, working or holidaying in the Traralgon Creek area was ordered to evacuate before nightfall on Friday, with major flooding expected.
But after a reprieve from torrential rain overnight, the Bureau of Meteorology revised the flood risk for the area on Saturday morning. Minor flooding was occurring but it was now safe for residents to return.
Some 300 buildings in the area had been impacted by flood water, according to the State Emergency Service, and 14 roads had been closed.
The coalmine fuelling Yallourn power station in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley had been evacuated with fears swollen rivers nearby could flood the site.
The federal MP for Gippsland, Darren Chester, said a small part of Traralgon was directly affected by the flood and in most cases residents from that area had family or friends to stay with.
He said the area had had a difficult time recently with drought, bushfires and now floods.
“We’ve had the trifecta in the last 18 months,” he told the ABC.
Aerial images of a swollen Traralgon Creek showed cars submerged under gushing brown water.
Sale was also being inundated with water, with the Thomson River reaching moderate flood levels at Sale and minor flooding occurring nearby at Wandocka.
River levels were steady, but renewed rises were possible with more rain forecast for the catchment on Saturday.
The South Gippsland Highway was closed between Sale and Langford.
Moderate flooding was also occurring along the Latrobe River at Thoms Bridge and was possible in Rosedale on Sunday.
Further west, residents along the Yarra River from Millgrove to Coldstream were advised to evacuate if it became necessary.
The Yarra River at Yarra Glen peaked overnight at moderate flood levels but the river was still rising between Warrandyte and Alphington.
On Friday, a young woman was found in a vehicle in flood waters at Glenfyne, 200km south-west of Melbourne, and a man’s body was found in his submerged car at the Gippsland town of Woodside on Thursday.
SES Victoria had more than 8,000 requests for help, with more than half related to fallen trees.