Locals caught by surprise in flash floods

Drivers should be aware of their surroundings during flood events.

By Gabriella Payne

A heavy morning downpour on Monday 23 November caught people in the Greater Dandenong region off guard, as properties and roads were flooded and people rescued after being trapped by the sudden rain.

In just a four hour window, between 6am and 10am, Dandenong recorded 61 millilitres of rain, putting it at the higher end of the scale for the Melbourne metro area.

As the wet weather rolled across the city, flood waters began to rise causing property damage and blocking off roads.

Over the four hour period of heavy rainfall, the SES received and attended 13 calls for help within Greater Dandenong, two of those being rescues on flooded motorways.

Daniel Cooksley, SES unit controller for Greater Dandenong said that this might not be the last flooding event of the year and locals should be prepared for more heavy downpours.

“It’s a bit of a La Niña year at the moment, so the ground is already saturated,” Mr Cooksley said.

Meteorologists are predicting that more wet weather is on the way for Melbourne due to the La Niña system, sometimes referred to as a “cold event”, where below-average sea surface temperatures across the east-central Equatorial Pacific affect our weather system.

“We will have above average rainfall, they’re saying into November and December, so we’re likely to get more events of this nature,” Mr Cooksley said.

Floodwaters can be very dangerous and Mr Cooksley stressed the importance of locals being prepared for more sudden downpours.

“It’s a timely reminder for people to check their properties, make sure all their gutters are clear, make sure their driveways are clear and to never drive through flood waters,” Mr Cooksley said.

According to the SES, it only takes 15 centimetres of water to float a car and Mr Cooksley reiterated the message, adding that people should always act with caution if caught in a flood situation and be aware of their surroundings.

Thankfully no one was injured in Monday’s flooding and as there were no winds, no trees came down and caused damage.

Mr Cooksley said that the majority of property damage had been caused by the floodwaters and that people out walking near local creeks should take care.

“Certainly the creeks are still high so around Dandenong Creek, Mile Creek and Eumemmerring Creek, if people are out walking just be aware,” he said.

For more information on how to get flood prepared, visit https://www.ses.vic.gov.au/get-ready/floodsafe .

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