Aussie flood
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MARK COLVIN: Victorians are being warned to prepare for heavy rain and possible flash flooding this weekend as a tropical air mass from Cyclone Yasi moves south.

North-east and central Victoria are expecting to be the hardest hit and some of those areas still haven't recovered from flooding in January.

Samantha Donovan reports.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Many Victorians are still cleaning up after flooding rains last month. But with an air mass from ex-tropical Cyclone Anthony and Yasi feeding into a strong Southern Ocean weather system, the north-east and central areas in particular are facing a new flood threat.

Tim Wiebusch is with the Victorian State Emergency Service.

TIM WIEBUSCH: The north-east of the state is our main concern given the likelihood of seeing at least between 100 to 150 mils and maybe localised totals up to 200 millimetres. This will result initially in flash flooding and then, potentially, right through to major riverine flooding along the Goulburn, Broken, Mitta Mitta, Kiewa, Ovens Catchments and may affect places like Benalla, Wangaratta and right through the Ovens valley, including places like Bright and Myrtleford.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Flash flooding warnings have been issued for all Victorian districts except East Gippsland. And flood watches are current for the greater Melbourne catchments, north-east Victoria, west and south Gippsland and the Goulburn and Broken Basins.

Tim Wiebusch says much of Victoria is already sodden and that won't help this weekend.

TIM WIEBUSCH: Look the potential certainly exists for further land slips in areas where we've already seen them, particularly through the likes of the Halls Gap area which is an area that we've just issued an emergency evacuation warning for.

But we are alerting people that our water storages across the state, in many cases, are now full to the brim and so that means that they don't have the capacity to perhaps attenuate some of the flooding that we may have seen in more recent months.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Ray Hewitt is the Mayor of the Northern Grampians Shire Council. The region, including the popular tourist town of Halls Gap, was hard hit by January's floods and he says apprehensive local residents are heading to an emergency meeting this evening.

RAY HEWITT: We certainly haven't finished the clean up or the reconstruction of our infrastructure in terms of roads and culverts and so yes, you know, the clean up may be sort of halfway through but there's a lot of that to do and there's also a lot of infrastructure things that we haven't even got to. We've assessed them and we know that they need to be done but our works crews are just flat out trying to get really essential roads and services open.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: You had some land slips last month as well, is that a concern too this weekend?

RAY HEWITT: It is a concern. The research seems to show that there is some instability in the land around Halls Gap. We're being possibly a little bit cautious but safety is the issue and if we get large rain events this next couple of days it could cause some more instability in those land slip areas so we're offering or suggesting evacuation of Halls Gap to residents as a serious option.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Some parts of Victoria and southern NSW have already been drenched this afternoon.

At Corowa, cafe owner Wendy Brockley says the heavy rain took her by surprise.

WENDY BROCKLEY: Sort of pelted down here. We sort of didn't have a clue that it was sort of coming. It sort of come across slowly and then I think all the gutters and everything else just got overflowed and we had water coming in the shop, through the back door. It was just running like somebody had a tap running through there.

Down the main street the gutters just couldn't handle it. The shops have been flooded so it's been fairly full on.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: The Bureau of Meteorology says there is some good news. A cold front will move into western Victoria tomorrow afternoon and that will clear the rain and humidity as it slowly moves across the state.

MARK COLVIN: Samantha Donovan.