Victoria braces for severe weather after another day of heavy rain soaks NSW and Queensland

By Josh Taylor

Eastern and central Victoria are bracing for flash flooding and damaging winds after another day of heavy rain soaked parts of New South Wales and Queensland.

Residents in East Gippsland and West and South Gippsland have been warned there is the potential for flash flooding, with rainfall totals of 30-60mm expected on Friday night.

The Central and North Central regions are set to face winds averaging 55 to 70km/h with peak gusts of around 90km/h, with the Bureau of Meteorology urging residents to avoid travel if possible.

It comes after large parts of the east coast of Australia were soaked by another day of heavy rain and thunderstorms. Flood warnings and strong wind warnings remain in place across three states.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Jonathan Howe told the ABC there was heavy rainfall throughout parts of central and south-east Queensland overnight, and in parts of northern New South Wales and the Hunter region.

More showers and storms are expected in parts of the tropical north Queensland coast on Friday, including Cairns and Townsville, with showers along the eastern seaboard through to Brisbane, the Gold Coast, and northern NSW.

A deep low pressure system is moving across Victoria and southern NSW, with a severe weather warning for heavy rain across eastern Victoria.

A severe thunderstorm warning was in place for Canberra, Cooma, Yass, Wagga Wagga, Young and Tumbarumba on Friday morning, with damaging winds and heavy rain likely. The bureau has warned sheep graziers around the state the weather may be so bad that their stock might not survive the day.

Howe said catchments are saturated, and there is minor to moderate flooding expected across the Gippsland rivers. There’s also a strong wind warning for parts of the central and Macedon ranges in Victoria, with strong easterly winds.

Some rivers in New South Wales already experiencing minor to moderate flooding, including up to the Queensland border.

South Australia’s Flinders Ranges were hit with heavy rain over the past two days and although the severe weather has moved away from SA rivers and creeks remain high.

Flood watches have been issued for Gippsland, parts of north east and central Victoria, and the Otway coast, with rainfall totals of 30-60mm forecast across the north-east ranges and Gippsland on Friday, and up to 60-80mm possible across the Gippsland high country.

Twenty-40mm were forecast over the Macedon ranges and the Otways on Friday, and between 15 and 30mm were forecast for central parts of the state.

On Thursday Dubbo in NSW was hit with 43mm of rain, with most of it falling in just 30 minutes. Up to 9am on Friday, Orange received 77mm and Newcastle 71mm. Cessnock (63mm), Lake Macquarie (57mm), Lord Howe Island (51mm), Cowra (49mm), Bathurst (46mm), Goulburn (44mm) and Nowra (39mm) also received significant falls.

A flooded road near the town of North Star in northern NSW after heavy rain

A flooded road near the town of North Star in northern NSW after heavy rain. Photograph: Angela McMaster

Narrabri already received more rain than it typically expects for November after 76mm fell overnight on Wednesday into Thursday.

The heavy rain trapped an empty school bus and three 4WDs between two fast-rising creeks near Narrabri on Wednesday afternoon, however the SES was “heartened” to see they called for assistance and did not drive through the flood waters.

In Bingara, the SES ferried stranded holidaymakers out of a flooded caravan park. Tibooburra, near the NSW, South Australian and Queensland borders, was hit with a 104km/h wind gust shortly after midday on Thursday, which also brought an intense torrent that dumped 13mm of rain in 20 minutes.

The Gwydir river peaked at 6.75m on Thursday afternoon before receding to about 6.11m at Gravesend, causing some minor flooding. Flood warnings are in place for the Lachlan river at Nanami, the Gwydir river at Gravesend, Pallamallawa and Yarraman Bridge, and the Mehi river at Moree.