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Heavy rain causes flooding in southeastern Australia

Record-breaking rainfall leads to widespread disruption as severe storms lash Victoria.

by Everton Fox

Heavy rain caused severe flooding in the Australian state of Victoria on Saturday, with more than 200mm of rain falling in just two days.

The weekend's huge downpours broke rainfall records, with Mount St Leonards in the Yarra Ranges receiving 228mm. The Melbourne Central Business District had its wettest 24-hour period since 1992.

In Echuca, near the border of New South Wales, more than 123mm of rain fell overnight into Saturday morning, breaking the 159-year-old daily rain record, according to data from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Other record-breaking rainfalls were recorded in Eildon, which received 149mm, the highest recorded in 131 years; and Euroa, which had 146mm of rain, breaking 132 years of records in the town. Residents took to sandbagging in an effort to save homes and businesses from damage, and alerts were issued for the Yarra River.

Victoria's premier, Daniel Andrews, urged all Victorians to stay vigilant and look after each other, particularly those in the flood-threatened centres.

"Some of these rainfall totals we've seen are well and truly an entire summer's rain almost in just a 24-hour period," he told reporters in Melbourne on Saturday.

The storm, which started on Friday, forced several Victorian regional towns to be evacuated to avoid the dangerous floodwaters. Authorities reported that there were more than 800 calls for help.

A swath of public events, including markets, sports events and concerts, had to be cancelled across Melbourne and in regional towns. Some major roads were also closed as a precautionary measure, with some international flights diverted to other Australian cities.


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SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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