Victoria, February 2012

Flood - Victoria

Quick Statistics

$108 million Insurance Costs

Following heavy rain on 26 February 2012, a severe weather warning for flash flooding was issued for most of Victoria, including the South West, North Central, Northern Country, Wimmera, Mallee, Central, West and South Gippsland and North-East districts.

The State Emergency Service (SES) responded to 650 calls for help across the state on the last days of February following heavy rain and thunderstorms. There was flash flooding and minor building damage across the state after rainfalls of between 50 and 100 mm. In towns such as Seymour there was 120 mm of rain, causing flash flooding and road closures. Shops in the main street of Chiltern were flooded after 94 mm of rainfall. The Goulburn Valley Highway was closed north of Seymour due to rainfall. Broken Weir near Benalla recorded the highest rainfall with 167 mm. Castlemaine received 50 mm of rain in a 90 minute period, with 11 homes and six shops flooded.

SES crews were also kept busy dealing with flash flooding at Yarrawonga, Cobram and Shepparton. There were 89 calls for help in the Ballarat area when storms dumped almost 60 mm of rain. The Daylesford Hospital had some minor flooding, and streets and at least one building were flooded in the area. There were also more than 350 calls for help in Melbourne, the hardest hit areas including Brimbank, Doncaster, Emerald and Malvern.

On 1 March 2012, the Bureau of Meteorology issued a Severe Weather Warning for heavy rain for residents in the Northern Country, East Gippsland and North East forecast districts.

In Numurkah, Broken Creek rose and flooded the town. Approximately 40 homes and businesses were damaged. The hospital was declared unsalvagable and limited services resumed from a temporary tent facility, followed by longstanding portables. Flood waters peaked on 5 March and slowly receded with a SES spokeswoman saying it would take at least a week for the water to recede completely.

In an attempt to protect the town, Nathalia locals and the SES constructed a temporary metal levee, 750 m in length, along the banks of Broken Creek with thousands of sandbags. The temporary levee was purchased after floods hit the town in 1993; it had not been used until this event and it supplements a permanent levee around much of the Nathalia stretch of Broken Creek. Notwithstanding the levee, the SES still issued an evacuation order for the town of Nathalia as some doubt existed as to the levees ability to contain the flood waters.

Flooding of Broken Creek, which borders Nathalia, peaked on 9 March at 3.25 m. The town's evacuation notice was lifted 15 March 2012 and the metal levee dismantled on 20 March 2012.

The Insurance Council of Australia estimated the 2012 damage at $108.2 million, which incorporated figures for both New South Wales and Victoria.


Information Sources

ABC Central Victoria, ’Flash flooding in Castlemaine and Chewton’, 28 February 2012, website viewed 29 February 2012
ABC Goulburn Murray, ‘Nathalia evacuation notice lifted’, 15 March 2012, website viewed 15 March 2012
ABC News, ‘Flash flooding closes roads, floods homes’, 28 February 2012, website viewed 28 February 2012
ABC News, ‘Nathalia on standby as flood levee compromised’, 8 March 2012, website viewed 8 March 2012
ABC News, ‘Victorian town braces for flood peak’, 7 March 2012, website viewed 7 March 2012
Bureau of Meteorology, Flood watch, 29 February 2012, website viewed 1 March 2012
Bureau of Meteorology, Severe weather warning, 1 March 2012, website viewed 1 March 2012
Insurance Council of Australia, Historical disaster statistics, March 2012, website viewed 17 April 2012
The Age, ‘Army enters Barmah to contain flood risk’, 13 March 2012, website viewed 14 March 2012
The Age, ‘Homes go under at floods breach levee at Nathalia’, 8 March 2012, website viewed 8 March 2012
The Age, ‘Numurkah counting the cost of inundation as the clean-up begins’, 7 March 2012, website viewed 7 March 2012
The Age ‘Patients evacuate as floods hit hospital’, 4 March 2012, website viewed 7 March 2012