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29 November 2023
By Abby Walter
Two days of heavy rain has led to days of clean-up for Horsham businesses which experienced flash flooding at the weekend.
More than 50 millimetres of rain was recorded at Horsham across Friday and Saturday, with a thunderstorm on Friday night.
Ararat recorded almost 30mm of rain, Edenhope 57mm and Nhill 77mm across the two days.
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Victorian State Emergency Service, VICSES, units responded to 17 requests for assistance in the Wimmera between Wednesday and Saturday.
Sam Burridge, owner of Firebrace Street business Night Owl Creations and Co, said she was putting Christmas decorations up in her store when the storm occurred late Friday.
She said she had been working hard to get the shop organised and open for Christmas trading.
“When it first started raining, I was outside looking at how eerie the sky looked. I moved back inside when I heard a big boom,” she said.
“Looking up at the roof over the footpath I just saw a waterfall of rain coming down – I believe the part of the roof was so full of water it fell.
“There was water coming down the inside of the windows and I was lucky to be there so I could move the sculptures before they were damaged.”
Ms Burridge said when she returned on Saturday morning, metal and nails from the roof were littered across the ground in front of her store.
“There were sheets of the roof hanging down. It was everywhere. It has now been sectioned off,” she said.
“I worked hard to get everything open and now no one can come into my shop until it’s all cleaned up.”
Café Chickpea’s Peter Rossbotham said water entered the Pynsent Street café through the back doors, because the rear carpark was not level and did not have adequate drainage.
“We heard the thunderstorm at 9.30pm on Friday and knew it wasn’t going to be good,” he said.
“When we went in to check, there was a one-inch layer of water covering about three-quarters of the shop.”
Mr Rossbotham said the café had to shut for weekend trade, to begin cleaning up.
“We’re not sure if we will get up and running this week,” he said.
“The carpet dryers are running 24-seven.
“It’s a busy time of year and we want to keep our staff and loyal customers, so we are doing all we can to get up and running as soon as we can.”
Rain recorded for Horsham this month to date has almost doubled its average, with 57.8mm recorded compared with a 29.7mm November average.
Stawell has recorded 21mm for the month to date and Ararat 28.3mm, tracking 120mm below average for year-to-date.
More than 79mm has been recorded in Nhill for the month, well above a 26.6mm average.
Warracknabeal continues to track 100mm below average for year-to-date with 23mm recorded during November.
Edenhope has recorded 57.4mm in November to date, 20mm above average.
Yearly rain total to date is about 140mm below average after a dry end to winter and start to spring.
Hopetoun recorded 41.2mm for the month, about 10mm above average, but as is consistent across the region, the tally remains below average for year to date.
Thunderstorms were forecast last night and today.
VICSES Grampians region duty officer Bradley Jew said eight units in the region were activated in response to community calls.
“The majority of requests for assistance were for building damage, flood-related incidents and trees down over roads and properties,” he said.
Mr Jew said Horsham recorded seven incidents and Kaniva three, as the two most affected towns.
“In the past, the summer period has been associated with enhanced risk of fire, however, the frequency of severe thunderstorms has increased,” he said.
“This is why it is important to remain prepared, drive to conditions and set up a ‘Watch Zone’ around your destination using the VicEmergency app.”
Horsham Rural City Council acting operations manager Luke Mitton said the customer service team received dozens of calls from the community.
“We were busy Friday morning responding to localised flooding – placing ‘water over the road’ signage. There was no need for sandbags this time,” he said.
Mr Mitton said there were several flooded stormwater drains in the city.
“They were not blocked, it’s just that the stormwater systems are not designed for such a heavy influx of stormwater in a short period,” he said.
“The water dissipated quickly once the rain stopped.”
Mr Mitton said the rain filled Horsham’s stormwater catchments.
“These are used for watering green spaces, and with a dry summer predicted, this is a positive result,” he said.
People can monitor warnings via VicEmergency website emergency.vic.gov.au/respond or smartphone app.
VICSES can be contacted for flood or storm emergency assistance at 132 500; in an emergency, 000.
The entire November 29, 2023 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!
The entire November 29, 2023 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!