Clear skies are no cause for complacency for flood-stricken Victorians, with dangerous conditions continuing for weeks, emergency services warn.
With water expected to peak in the northwestern regional center of Mildura by mid-next week, Alistair Drayton, Victorian state’s deputy chief of emergency services, urged people to be safe around rivers.
“It’s an incredibly dangerous environment for rivers to move so fast,” Drayton told AAP.
‘Even for experienced swimmers there will be snags in the river and the river is not even within its own footprint at the moment.
The Murray River is expected to be about 400mm higher than its current level and will remain high for some time.
“This will stay with us for many weeks to come,” Drayton said, adding that the last time Mildura experienced flooding on this scale was in 1973 and before that in 1956.
Residents in the northeastern part of the city near Nichols Point, Bruces Bend and surrounding areas were told to evacuate on Thursday and warned on Friday that it was not safe to return.
Mr Drayton, who took over as Mildura’s incident controller on Friday, said the nicer weather had caused a break in calls for help, giving time to contain flooding.
“By the end of the work day, we expect all identified levee works that were needed … to be completed, which is great,” he said.
Checks on levee maintenance had revealed sandbags missing in a number of towns along the border.
“It’s simply a process of going around and maintaining all those levees and doing some observations, because what we’ve seen in other places … sandbags do disappear,” Drayton said.
More than 500 roads in Victoria remain closed.
With flooding from NSW and Victoria starting to make its way into South Australia, Mr Drayton said tri-weekly teleconferences between Victoria and NSW’s SES would start to include SASES from next week.