An increasingly intense system moving over central Australia is expected to pour up to 120mm of rainfall, potentially causing flash flooding in various parts of Victoria.
The violent system is also set to generate strong wind gusts of up to 100km/h off the coast.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has issued a warning that the expected showers could cause flash flooding in the state’s central and western parts on Wednesday and within the northeast ranges on Thursday morning.
Forecasters from the bureau have keenly been observing the low-pressure system, which is associated with the unprecedented moisture levels being experienced.
The low system is likely to deepen towards the northern part of Victoria on Wednesday evening before heading south on Thursday.
According to the Bureau’s senior forecaster Kevin Parkyn, the weather pattern was a sure indication of an impending La Niña.
Usually, a La Niña phase in the northern Australia causes waters to be warm, leading to heavy rains in the northern and eastern parts of Australia.
“The atmospheric conditions are just ripe for that system to intensify on Wednesday night over Victoria,” Mr Parkyn noted.
“We call that process cyclone genesis.”
The northeast ranges could experience flooding and showers of between 80 and 120 millimetres, and heavy pours of about 60mm some other times, he added.
Mr Parkyn noted that while that might not sound much, it could actually cause serious problems.
“The concern is we’ll see these short bursts over a few hours, particularly in the north and about the dividing range where we could see falls of 50 to 60 millimetres,” he said.
“That’s a real concern overnight.”
There’s a flood watch in place for northeastern Victoria on Wednesday, and extreme weather warning for heavy downpours from Wednesday through to Thursday evening in North Central, Mallee, Wimmera, Northern Country and some parts of the central, North East and South West forecast districts.
Widespread rainfall of about 10-30mm is expected across Victoria.
Melbourne is set to receive up to 20mm of rainfall, possibly exceeding the city’s annual rainfall nearly three month before the year ends.
Avoid making a ‘deadly’ decision: SES
On Thursday, the focus will be on highly damaging winds forecast in the central coasts, southwest and Alpine areas.
“It looks like it will be most intense on Thursday morning just off the southwest coast and that’s probably where we’re most concerned of these 90-100 kilometre per hour gusts,” Mr Parkyn reported.
Premier Daniel Andrews has asked Victorians to stay abreast with the latest developments in the weather conditions and take necessary precautions.
“That just makes the job of our emergency services heroes … just that little bit easier,” he said.
In a statement, Tim Wiebusch the operations chief officer at the State Emergency Service urged residents to avoid driving through floodwaters, considering it a “deadly decision.”
“Research shows most fatalities … occur in floodwaters. It only takes 15 centimetres of water for a small car to float,” he said.
“That’s the size of the average pen.”
Last August, three people including a four-year old boy perished when trees fell on them during a wild weather.
He added that Victorians in areas likely to be affected by the harsh weather should stay indoors whenever possible.
“If you don’t need to be outside during the storm, don’t be outside,” he said.
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