The great escape

December 07, 2017

Benalla escaped last weekend’s rain event unscathed despite forecasts warning the town to brace for a weather event comparable to conditions that led to the 1993 floods.

While towns in the surrounding area were underwater, Benalla’s residents were looking to the skies wondering what all the fuss was about.

SES Benalla assistant chief officer Keith O’Brien told The Ensign on Friday that the Bureau of Meteorology had predicted flooding.

‘‘The weather phenomenon is similar to 1993 and 2010, the advice is that Benalla will see some flooding but we are not expecting ’93 levels,’’ Mr O’Brien said.

‘‘We expect some flash flooding and an increase in the (Broken) river.

‘‘We’ll be opening a couple of incident control centres in the region that will be giving regular updates.’’

Luckily the storm did not affect Benalla, however, the SES’ preparation and communication was first-class and residents were ready for any flooding and kept up-to-date throughout the weekend.

When rain started late Friday evening many feared the worst, however, as Saturday and Sunday drifted by with hardly any rain at all, a collective sigh of relief could be heard around the city.

Several local roads including Swanpool-Lima Rd and Hume Fwy were flooded at various points throughout the weekend, but properties and business in and around Benalla were not affected.

The SES provided regular updates and information via its Facebook page.

It advised of minor flooding in Perth St, Thomas St, Noarana Dve, Nunn St and Sydney Rd at various points.

However these were short-lived and roads were re-opened quickly.

Anyone who walked or drove over the Stock Bridge in Ackerly Ave would have seen how close the river on the north side of the levee came to reaching the road.

However, after it peaked about 25cm below the bridge, the water subsided.

When going to press the river was still much higher than normal levels downstream and will remain so until all the water from the storm passes through town.

Residents of Euroa were less lucky and saw floodwater rise significantly, inundating the town and causing damage to properties and vehicles.

Rivers in Echuca, Shepparton and across the Goulburn Valley breached their banks and flooded roads and properties.

Those areas will now begin the clean-up.

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