Vic braces for wild winds, major floods

Wild winds and rain are set to lash Victoria over the next two days, bringing damaging gusts and major floods expected in one region.

Wild winds and rain are set to lash Victoria, bringing damaging gusts and possible major flooding.

The cold front will affect a number of areas across the state, but particularly Gippsland over the next two days.

Gippsland will be hit by heavy rain, resulting in possible major floods, the weather bureau has warned.

Bureau of Meteorology senior meteorologist Kevin Parkyn said rainfall on Wednesday would be widespread across Gippsland and other parts of the state, intensifying during the evening and into Thursday.

Falls of 20mm to 50mm are expected, saturating the water catchments.

“As the rainfall intensifies Wednesday night into Thursday, that’s when we’re really concerned, because the rain rates will be heavy enough for flash flooding through Gippsland, particularly the foothills,” Mr Parkyn said.

By around midday Thursday, rainfall across the region could total 100mm and even as much as 200mm in more elevated areas, he said.

A flood watch has been issued for Gippsland and parts of north east and central Victoria.

Damaging winds will also intensify on Wednesday, affecting the state more broadly.

The winds will potentially reach destructive gusts of 125 km/hour about the Alpine area.

A severe warning for damaging winds has also been issued for people in parts of south west and Wimmera areas in western Victoria.

“It’s that overnight period Wednesday night into Thursday we’re quite concerned about, even in and around the Melbourne area where we could see damaging wind gusts,” Mr Parkyn said.

The conditions could create widespread vegetation damage that would affect roads and possibly people’s safety, he added.

SES Victoria chief operations officer Tim Wiebusch said the weather system and accompanying strong damaging winds could lead to trees falling on roads and even landslides in fire-affected areas.

He urged people to prepare for the conditions, consider alternative routes and avoid entering floodwaters, which could be deadly.

“It only takes 15 cm of floodwater for a small vehicle to float, so we’re urging all Victorians to make sure they have an alternative route planned when they’re out and around, particularly in Gippsland and the north east of the state where we may see this heavy rainfall and flash flooding,” Mr Wiebusch said.

Mr Wiebusch said it was the first time in nine years such a weather event had hit the Gippsland region.

He urged residents to have their phone charged, a battery-operated radio or access to a car radio to stay in touch with emergency broadcasters and consider where to go if they find themselves flooded.

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