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It appears as though flood levels have peaked and there is no further danger to Skipton at this point.
Creswick and Clunes both managed to escape floods as well, with all towns surrounding Ballarat all escaped relatively unharmed, despite some hairy moments.
The Ballarat SES Incident Control centre says water levels are dropping in Creswick and Clunes and both towns appear to be safe for now.
There were just two calls for assistance for minor incidents overnight.
However, the SES is urging people to still take extreme caution.
Public information officer Sue Harley said a number of people had been observed taking unnecessary risks near water.
Ms Harley said there was still high danger near flood waters, even if they were abating.
“We are concerned about people checking the waters, even if the levels are dropping,” she said.
“People should stay back at least three or four metres, either in their cars or on foot.”
There are a lot of trees and branches falling as a result of the rain, many of which are flowing through the flood waters.
The SES warns the water can actually be flowing faster in some areas than it was yesterday.
AT BALLAN, minor to moderate flooding in the Werribee River catchment is causing substantial inundation in the rural areas and disruption to traffic.
There are road closures in place. Not all water over road is signed. Please take care when travelling in flood effected areas and never drive through floodwater.
UPDATE, WEDNESDAY 10.30AM
People in Skipton are preparing for flooding as the mounting creek looks like broaching the Glenelg Highway Bridge in the centre of town.
The historical society has been emptied as waters lap at the posts in the bottom of the building.
Police public order response vehicles are closing the highway into the centre of town but traffic is being allowed through on the car by car basis.
There are teams of locals, SES volunteers, CFA workers preparing sandbags around buildings and businesses in the centre of town.
There is no sense of panic or resignation rather willingness to get in and help people are pushing shopping trolleys full of historical items to the safety of the golf course.
The water is rising slowly but steadily.
Locals are hoping that it won't rise too much more.
It's still two metres off the peak of the damaging floods of 2011.
The following message has just been released by the SES:
“Rainfall in the Ballarat/Skipton area on Tuesday night has resulted in a steady rise of the Mt Emu Creek at Skipton.
The Smythe Street Gauge is currently reading 4.97 metres with a further small rise likely. This level is similar to the 2010 flood level, but below the 2011 flood level.
Properties and businesses along Anderson, Montgomery and Cleveland Streets will be impacted.
Wright and Bolte Streets could also be affected by rising floodwater.
Road closures are expected,so plan travel accordingly and refer to the VicRoads website for up to date information.”
Emergency services are happy with how flood-risk towns such as Creswick and Clunes have held up through this week’s heavy rainfall.
More than 54 millilitres fell across Ballarat, Clunes and Creswick between 9am on Tuesday and 9am on Wednesday, however, CFA incident controller Paul Carrigg said the latter two towns have so far escaped any serious flooding.
“At this stage they’re holding up very well,” he said.
“The The two towns in Clunes and Creswick were in danger, but we reached peak water levels in some of the creeks overnight and it’s dropped substantially (since).
“We have also spoken to the Burea of Meteorology and they predict up to to 5ml of drizzle and light rain overnight before it clears on Thursday and Friday.
Mr Carrigg said several minor roads in the Ballarat region had to be closed due to flooding, but said he expects water levels to continue to drop.
Emergency services workers have held safety meetings in both Creswick and Clunes on Wednesday, while locals are urged to take care in coming days, particularly in regards to water on roads.
“The biggest danger and threat is water across roads,” Mr Carrigg said.
“Don’t drive through it because you can’t see the water levels.”
He said trees falling over also remain a danger, given the soft soil and high wind levels.
Weatherzone data showed 4ml had fallen over Ballarat from early on Wednesday up until 6.30pm, while Daylesford has collected an astonishing 66ml over the past two days.
The following traffic alert has been issued by VicRoads:
“There are a number of road closures throughout the West of Victoria, which will make it difficult for those needing to travel through the area tonight and tomorrow.
Access to Halls Gap is blocked and the following roads remain closed:
- Grampians Road
- Pomonal Road
- Ararat-Halls Gap Road
- Northern Grampians Road
There are also a number of roads in the Maryborough and Central Goldfields regions that are closed, due to flooding - making travel between Ballarat and Bendigo difficult.
Sections of the Western Highway between Horsham and Ballarat have significant amounts of water over the road.
Please slow down and observe any signage and speed restrictions in place.
VicRoads advises motorists to avoid travel through the area, if possible.
Those needing to access this area are advised to allow extra time, as long delays are expected.”
Ballarat is set to break rainfall records in coming days as further heavy rainfall is forecast for next week.
Not since 1923 has the region had such a wet three days, and with just 33mm required to make this the wettest September ever, it seems assured this will be the the most soaked lead into spring since the the Bureau of Meteorology first kept a register.
Further out, Wedderburn has had the wettest three days since 1916, and Beaufort since 1911.
The Bureau has warned that significantly heavy falls of rain are forecast for the middle of next week, with similar amounts to this week’s amounts expected.
It is not expected that major flooding will occur, but there may be further small areas affected by inundation with variations in weather.
Weary residents of flood-threatened towns around the Ballarat district are cautiously optimistic water levels have peaked.
Heavy rainfall throughout Tuesday night fed into already swollen creeks and rivers, pushing banks and levees to their limits, before easing as rains slowed mid-morning.
Avoca, 60km north-west of Ballarat, received the second-highest rainfall in the state overnight with a whopping 77mm.
Publican at the Avoca Hotel Ian Urquhart said the Avoca River peaked at around 9.30am on Wednesday morning, around two feet (60cm) below the peak of the 2011 flooding.
Mr Urquhart said the Avoca sports oval was covered in water, but that the sporting complex behind the grounds was unaffected.
He said he had heard no reports of people’s homes being affected by flooding.
South-west of Ballarat, Skipton was threatened by rapidly rising water – almost a metre an hour – as catchments fed into the Mt Emu Creek.
CFA and SES crews sandbagged properties as a precaution.
At midday on Wednesday the floodwater had peaked, flowing a metre under the Glenelg Highway bridge.
In the plains around Ballarat as near as Miners Rest and Scarsdale, paddocks were inundated up to the edges of roadways.
The historic Dereel-Berringa bridge was also destroyed by flood waters (you can see where that happened below).
Caledonian Creek at Scarsdale had spread 250 metres across adjacent paddocks. At Ross Creek roads were covered with fast flowing water.
A Bureau of Meteorology spokesperson said decreasing rainfall over the next three days should see water levels ease. Falls of 5 to 15mm are forecast for the region, with isolated pockets of 15 to 30mm.
A cold front next week may see more significant falls in the range of 100mm over a few days, while localised thunderstorms still pose threats of flooding.
A BOM hydrologist said major flood warnings remained in place for the Avoca and Loddon rivers.
SKIPTON’S Georgie Green says residents of the town south-west of Ballarat were alarmed by water rising in the Mt Emu Creek rapidly overnight.
She says at point the water was rising by a metre an hour.
The water level has now steadied, but there are concerns upstreams flows later in the day might cause flooding in the town.
THE Avoca Hotel’s Ian Urquhart says waters in the Avoca River peaked at 9.30am today, after a total of 77mm rainfall.
The publican says it has since dropped about three feet (1m). It is short of the peak of the 2011 floods by about two feet (60cm).
Mr Urquhart said the sports ground was covered in water but the sports complex was not affected.
There are no reports of homes being affected either.
The third wettest September day on record for Ballarat is taking its toll with downstream flows continuing to swell.
The SES has issued warnings for Ballan and Clunes after 54mm of rain fell on Ballarat up until 9am
The total makes it the wettest single day since 58.6mm fell in the floods of February 2012.
Ballarat has not experienced a wetter September day since 1921 when 63.5mm fell.
The SES has continued to reiterate drivers should not attempt to drive through floodwaters regardless of the make of their car.
The Western Highway remains closed at Burrumbeet due to flooding. The Carngham Road is also closed at the Windamere Road intersection.
VicRoads has also closed the Mt Mercer Road at the Yarrowee River.
UPDATE, WEDNESDAY 7.30AM
The State Emergency Service says it has attended more than 70 calls for assistance around Ballarat over the last day, including the rescue of one person from floodwaters near Beaufort.
Another heavy downpour overnight has wreaked havoc throughout the region, with 58mm of rain falling in Ballarat in the 24 hours leading up to 7am.
Although there are no houses that have been damaged as yet, according to the SES, it was a hectic night for emergency services.
One person was rescued from floodwaters at Waterloo, near Beaufort, with police, CFA and the SES all working together in the operation.
SES deputy controller of operations Craig Elliott said the were concerns for the township of Clunes, with fears the Creswick Creek could burst its banks in the middle of the town.
However, Mr Elliott said the town of Creswick currently appeared to be safe, unlike when floods ravaged the town in 2010-2011.
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“We had some concerns around Clunes overnight but that appears to be safe for now,” he said.
“The ground just can’t soak up any more rain anywhere at the moment.”
Mr Elliott also sent out a strong message to those who tried driving through flood waters.
The Courier observed some people attempting to cross a flood spillway at Bells Road in Smythes Creek last night.
“We don’t recommend anybody driving through or playing near floodwaters, especially with children,” Mr Elliott said.
“The volume of the water and the pace it is moving can change at any time.”
Mr Elliott also advised against people parking under trees.
Central Victorian residents are watching the flow of creeks and waterways as they rise steadily following heavy rainfall.
With further falls forecast, minds are being cast back to the last major flooding in 2010-2011. While the rainfall is not on the scale of that event at this time, residents are understandably worried.
Roads across the region are undergoing intermittent water coverage with minor localised flooding.
Bells Road resident Toni Middleton made the decision to evacuate her house just after 9am Tuesday.
Surrounded by water, she was forced to drive her vehicle through water "at least one foot deep" to evacuate.
"When the flood height increases there is no way for us to get in or out of our property in our vehicles - our only option would be to go through back of next door's paddock."
Sam Owen-Jones works in her parents’ takeaway food outlet Krackerjacks on the main road through Creswick.
The business was inundated in the flooding five years ago and Ms Owen-Jones said she was making repeated inspections of the creek running behind the store.
“It’s flowing very quickly and it is quite full,” said Ms Owen-Jones.
“It’s just below its full level, but who knows with all this rain we’re supposed to get.”
Creswick Creek drains water from several sources, including the Cosgrove Reservoir, which is currently 99.8 per cent full. It also takes overflows from St Georges Lake and Slaty Creek.
It was cleared and widened to allow for increased volumes to flow through it following the 2011 floods.
Ms Owen-Jones says the Creswick community is watching and wondering what may happen if the rainfall increases.
Several reservoirs in the region managed by Central Highland Water are at 100 per cent capacity, including Evansford, Lexton and Hepburn. CHW has issued a statement saying they are not responsible for planned water releases.
“Any water that spills from reservoirs, as a result of high inflows, will continue on a natural course through the water system,” the statement read.
Further north, residents in the town of Carisbrook are still awaiting Central Goldfields Shire works to begin on a promised levee system designed to alleviate the kind of flood that devastated the town in 2011.
The Victorian SES says significant rain is expected across central and north-west Victoria, with up to 100mm possibly falling across the next three days around Stawell. Localised thunderstorms may cause flash flooding.
Members of the public are advised to call 132 500 for emergency assistance or 000 in a life-threatening situation.