Horsham in Victoria was the latest of 46 towns in Australia’s south-east corner to go on flood alert on Monday with a warning to its 14,000 residents to expect the worst soaking since the flood of 1909.
In Horsham, midway between Melbourne and Adelaide, 111 houses could expect to have water over their floorboards.
“The river runs pretty much right through the centre of town,” Horsham Mayor Michael Ryan told local radio. “That’s a large part of our issue at the moment, because all the streams are brimming and the water supplies are brimming so there’s nowhere for this water to hide.” He said the town had been fortified by 45,000 sandbags laid by volunteers and the State Emergency Services.
“We’ve had a dozen years of pretty severe drought,” Mr. Ryan said.
“The water has wrecked farms, wrecked crops and that’s the irony of it all. We hoped for rain and now we wish it would go away.” North of Horsham, the townsfolk of Echuca are relieved their levee held and only 200 houses were affected by the floodwaters.
The floodwaters are rolling south from Queensland, where two- thirds of the state is affected by flooding after torrential rain for the first two weeks of this year.