Region recovers from wild weather

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UPDATE, Wednesday 7.45am: The Loddon Mallee SES received 20 calls for assistance in 24 hours, most of which were related to Tuesday’s downpours.

Deputy controller Natalie Stanway said the majority of the calls concerned building damage, with Bendigo businesses seeking assistance for leaking roofs. 

Help was also sought for flash-flooding.

“If we see anything today, it is more likely to be related to trees coming down,” Ms Stanway said. 

“Hopefully the more gentle rain we’ve had overnight is not going to cause us any problems and it’s just going to be business as usual.”

She said the wet weather was a timely reminder to home and business owners to prepare their properties for the cooler months ahead. 

The Bureau of Meteorology had recorded 0.8 millimetres of rain at Bendigo Airport from 9am to 2.36pm on Tuesday.

That figure rose to 25.6 millimetres within the half hour. 

A total of 34.2 millimetres of rainfall has been recorded in Bendigo since 9am on Tuesday.

Today’s forecast for Bendigo is partly cloudy, with a top of 26 degrees and a 20 per cent chance of a shower in the morning.

Expect southeasterly winds ranging from 20 to 25 km/h.

UPDATE 5.45pm: Water has impacted businesses in Hargraves Street, Castlemaine, where a 15-minute downpour caused flash-flooding.

Marcus Mahoney from Margot Wine Bar said water came into the entrance of his business when the drain out the front couldn’t cope with the water.

He said council had installed a steel grate over the drain and leaves and debris had stopped water getting through. A quick-thinking business owner nearby pulled the cover from a drain around the corner on the Pyrenees Highway, allowing the water to clear.

“That grate hasn’t made things great!” he said.

The nearby Theatre Royal also saw flash-flooding of its make-shift dining area for the Castlemaine State Festival.

UPDATE 5.20pm: It is now Castlemaine’s turn to cop the brunt of today’s weather.

UPDATE 5.00pm: Rainfall is increasing in Castlemaine.

The town escaped the heavy downpour that struck Bendigo earlier today.

In the past 15 minutes it has rained as hard as at any time this afternoon in Castlemaine, according to several locals.

UPDATE 4.30pm: Jobs Gully Creek bore a beating from the rain with minor flooding along roads and onto nature strips.

This first video was sent in by Amber Stori-Stott, corner of Westwood Drive and Oswalk Street, Eaglehawk.

In the water’s wake residents found leaf litter, dirt and stones across up to their nature strips and garden retaining walls.

Excess creek water flooded across several streets, including over Edwards Road, where water was still making things tricky for traffic half an hour later.

UPDATE 4.15pm: The downpour hit White Hills Primary School just before home time.

School crossing supervisor Denise said some parents had taken their children from school as normal only to find a popular walking path near the nearby Bendigo Creek flooded. They turned back and instead crossed the road closer to the school.

“It’s tricky because parents here have had to walk onto the road so that they can put their kids in the car,” Denise said.

White Hills PS business manager Sabina Riordan said staff had yet to have time to survey school grounds for damage, though a number of buildings sustained minor damage from leaks.

UPDATE 4.05pm: Managers of Hargreaves Street businesses have raised concerns about their thoroughfare's fitness to handle floodwaters after today's deluge, blaming leaf litter for the inundation of their premises. 

Sim'r cafe was forced to close early on Tuesday afternoon after water damage left plasterboard and artwork in need or repair.  

A staff member said the downpour left their shop looking "like Niagara falls". 

"Hopefully it'll be okay," she said.

It was not the first time the cafe experienced flooding, saying as much as 30 centimetres of water had covered their floor during another torrential rain in 2015. 

Metropolitan workers tried to hold off rainwater with brooms on Tuesday, but not before their cellar and bistro areas were flooded. 

Their cellar floor was hidden by as much as 30 centimetres of water. 

Manager Rodney Garner said drains installed level with Hargreaves Street did not have anywhere for the water to go, and when leaves from the roadside trees covered the drain, water kept running down the street. 

"It's just damaging to the small businesses," Mr Garner said.  

He planned to send footage of the blocked drains and flooded cellar to city planners.  

Sim'r staff also pointed blame at leaves which fell from the trees, saying the debris blocked drainpipes and allowed flooding to occur.

Its building owner complained to the City of Greater Bendigo about the type of tree planted on the shopping strip since they were put in place, also claiming fibres from pods on the trees were a health hazard.

"You can actually choke on them," the owner added. 

Comment is being sought from the City of Greater Bendigo. 

UPDATE 3.55pm: Property Solutions Bendigo owner Jamie Benbow has suspended his work this afternoon and offered to help people who need assistance after the heavy rain.

Mr Benbow put a Facebook post up offering his and his crew’s services if required.

“I often see people on Facebook saying they don’t want to call the SES and I offer to help,” he said.

“If it’s not a life threatening job, we are more than happy to help out with things like gutters falling down, broken windows that need boarding up and small trees that have fallen,” he said.

“The SES are trained for life threatening situations and should be called for if people need serious assistance.”

Loddon Mallee SES operations manager Andrew Gill said it was gret to see skilled people offering to lend a hand.

“At the end of the day Benidgo is a large community and whether it is a private business or individuals, when we work together we have a better response,” he said.

“It is about neighbours helping neighbours and the community helping each other in any event.” 

UPDATE 3.50pm: The Loddon Mallee SES has received 15 calls for assistance in the past 24 hours.

Deputy controller Natalie Stanway said about nine of those calls happened after the heavy downpour this afternoon.

“It is the typical flash flooding-type events that by the time we get to them, the damage has already been done,” she said.

Loddon Mallee SES operations manager Andrew Gill said he expected more calls after 5.30pm when people got home from work.

“Bendigo has been doing quite well but we will get more calls as people arrive home and discover damage,” he said.

“The main thing we want people to do before events like this is clean your gutters and tidy around house. If every house and business owner did that, it would reduce the need to call the SES. 

“It is also good to remember not to play in flood water. A good place is inside at the moment, don’t drive through flood waters and be safe.”

UPDATE 3.25pm: The Bureau of Meteorology says 25.6mm of rain has fallen since 9am, with most of that in the past hour.

BOM duty forecaster Tom Fejes said it was possible another 5-10mm of rain would fall today, but the worst of the weather had passed.

The staff at the Metropolitan have been sweeping water out.

Shannon Spaulding captured some of the action in Huntly.

UPDATE 3.05pm: Flash flooding has occurred across central Victoria. There are reports of water across roads in some areas. Please, drive safely.

Amanda Anderson captured this vision at White Hills Primary School.

Several Bendigo businesses have also suffered water damage.

The Bureau of Meteorology warned us there would be rain coming – and after a morning of ominous clouds and high humidity, the downpour came. 

This video was filmed by Video taken by Amber Storie-Stott at Jobs Gully Creek.  

Emergency services are being paged to California Gully, Eaglehawk, North Bendigo, and Bendigo to assist with flooding.

The Bureau of Meteorology warned of widespread rain and isolated thunderstorms, with probable periods of heavy rain and the possibility of flash flooding.

The Central, South West, Northern Country, North Central, North East, West and South Gippsland, Wimmera and parts of the East Gippsland forecast districts were likely to be affected. 

Cities and towns include Bendigo, Maryborough, Horsham, Warrnambool, Shepparton, Seymour, Ballarat, Geelong, Melbourne, Wodonga, Wangaratta and Traralgon. 

Harley sent in this video from Havlin Street East.

Rainfall totals of 20mm to 50mm are expected in the warning area today, with totals exceeding 70mm possible.

The wet and humid conditions have also prompted a brown rot warning for stone fruit growers in the Mallee, Wimmera, Northern Country, North Central, North East, South West, Central, West and South Gippsland and East Gippsland forecast districts.

This is how it looked outside the Bendigo Advertiser office in Williamson Street.

More to come