Torrential downpours cause flash flooding
Torrential rain is expected to ease across Victoria this afternoon after much of the state received a thorough drenching in the past two days, with some areas receiving their monthly average in a matter of hours.
Central and north-east Victoria have borne the brunt of the bad weather, with 165 millimetres falling in Broken River and Mount Buffalo in the past two days, the highest recorded rainfall in the state.
At Broken River, near Shepparton, 70 millimetres of rain fell in just one hour.
Flash flooding at Castlemaine, Rutherglen and on the Mornington Peninsula prompted scores of calls for help that kept the State Emergency Service busy.
The SES received about 80 calls from residents in Castlemaine, where 50 millimetres of rain fell in a 90-minute period. A relief centre was set up after a number of homes and shops were inundated and the caravan park was evacuated as creeks rose.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Peter Newham said the Melbourne area had received between 20 and 50 millimetres of rain in the past day.
He said February rainfall tended to come in bursts, and this was second year Victoria had received a February drenching as a result of the La Nina weather conditions.
‘‘That means the ocean to the north of Australia is warmer than normal,’’ Mr Newham said.
‘‘When we get north-east to northerly winds, the warm moist air comes down as opposed to hot dry air that we get in the El Nino summers.
‘‘Basically the air mass is so humid that when it does rain, there is so much moisture in the air for the rain to form.’’
Heavy rain is expected to contract to the east of the state today before clearing, while showers and drizzle in southern Victoria will also clear throughout the day.
However more rain is forecast to develop in the north of the state, near Mildura and Swan Hill, and over the north-eastern ranges this afternoon.
‘‘So the rain will persist in the far north and in the north east and isolated showers in the south,’ Mr Newham said.