‘Quite surreal’: Cleanup underway in St Arnaud after wettest November day on record

Date: 2021-11-03 23:00:07

The Bureau of Meteorology is warning Charlton that minor flooding is likely along the Avoca River today, after more than 35 millimetres of rain fell in the catchment.

It follows flash flooding in nearby St Arnaud yesterday, with a clean-up operation underway in the town of 2,000.

Loading

The Avoca River is currently at 3.6 metres in height at Charlton and likely to pass 4.6 metres this evening.

Homes and businesses have been impacted by flooding in Canterbury Street, Napier Street, Kell Road, Howitt Street and north of St Arnaud, along the Charlton-St Arnaud Road.

Water over a road 15 kilometres from Charlton on the Bendigo side. Avoca River.

Record tumbles

BOM duty forecaster Miriam Bradbury confirmed Wednesday was St Arnaud’s wettest November day on record, with 87 millimetres in the 24 hours to 9am.

“It is almost certainly a once-in-100-years flooding event,” she said.

“In 142 years of record keeping, the average rainfall for the town is 35 millimetres across the month of November.” 

Resident Jean Reid says most of the rain fell in a one-hour period.

“So yeah, it was just absolutely terrible.”

Areas nearby the town only received 38 millimetres.

St Arnaud resident of 55 years, Kathy Hedger, said she’d never seen anything like Thursday evening’s floods.

“The rain pelted down,” she said. “Water was going everywhere.

“I couldn’t even go home. There were people even walking up and down the street with no shoes on.

“It was a bit of a shock for all of us.”

Local councillor Tony Driscoll farms 20kms north of St Arnaud, and headed into town after calls from concerned residents.

“The water was there for at least three or four hours,” he said.

“Because the town is in a valley, all the water just cascades down the streetscape, and Napier Street (the main street) becomes a conduit for all the excess water.

“It’s quite surreal because the sun is shining now.”

St A photo 2
St Arnaud’s main street, Napier Street, at 1.30 on Thursday.(Kim Price:ABC Central Victoria)

On Thursday morning, another resident, Megan Cummings told the ABC the vet had suffered the most damage.

“We had an inkling it was going to be pretty intense, but I don’t think anyone realised how intense,” she said.

“The neighbours tried desperately to stop that happening, but the road and vet was underwater. It happened within about 10 or 15 minutes. You could see the gutters starting to swell and it happened really fast from there.

“I was spending most of my time shovelling logs out of the drains to keep the water flowing. Most of it has run away now, which is good, but there is a lot of silt and debris and wood.”

Farm disruptions

St Arnaud floods 2021
The receding flood waters out the back of the St Arnaud Post Office. (Supplied: Helen Rigby.)

Ben Batters farms about 20 kilometres north of St Arnaud.

He said the rain would disrupt his haymaking program and cause losses in quality. 

“There’s always an ongoing conversation between the townspeople and farmers about whether we want rain or not, and don’t think anyone wants any more right now,” he said. 

“We managed to get some hay baled before the rain but we’ve still got quite a bit to go, so there will be some quality downgrades there and some challenges with creeks and crabholes.”


Source link

Images:

Videos:

Address:

Scroll to Top