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by Ian Blyth and Joshua Wells

THE Country Fire Authority has slammed a ‘small number’ of drivers who drove through floodwaters after seven cars became trapped over the weekend’s rain.
As the downpour began on Friday, two people inside a car had to be saved by a man on his tractor at Whiteheads Creek after a car became trapped at about 6pm.
CFA District 12 Operations officer Justin Dally said call outs to cars becoming trapped in floodwaters were disappointing.

“There were about seven rescues from people becoming trapped in cars,” he said.

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“It drags resources away from other incidents and these people are told not to drive through floodwaters, yet people are still choosing to do so because it would be inconvenient otherwise.

“They put themselves and others in harm’s way. Just stay out of floodwaters. Many drivers adhered to the advice and were slowing down on the roads – so well done to a majority of our drivers.”

The CFA assisted State Emergency Service (SES) crews after many call outs across the weekend.

Throughout the district events and sporting fixtures were cancelled amid the heaviest rainfall to hit the state in 25 years. Many areas experienced three times the summer average in just two days.

The weather forced the Kilmore Show to run on a smaller scale with all outdoor attractions, including the popular horse events, cancelled. The undercover events went ahead.
Rain also caused a mass cancellation of cricket with the Gisborne and District Cricket Association deferring the decision to play or not to play to club captains. All matches were called off in the Seymour and District Cricket Association.

Romsey Cricket Club made the decision to play its scheduled match against Sunbury United and in doing so secured the club’s first competition points for the season. A report on the Romsey match is on page 43.

The Goulburn River at Seymour peaked at 3.72 metres (minor flood level 3.80 metres) around 3am on Monday, December 4 and at the time of going to press was at 3.52 metres and falling.

In Mitchell Shire, the worst hit areas were around Whiteheads Creek, Seymour and parts of Avenel and Mangalore.There were also calls for assistance and road closures in other locations including Tallarook, Broadford and Clonbinane.

With 200mm recorded in the Goulburn River catchment, council received 117 calls to its after-hours service for water over roads, trees down and other hazards.

Council had staff working across the weekend with 10 crews active at the peak and five crews attending to overnight call outs and inspections across the shire. Council also engaged specialist drainage and tree removal contractors.

At the peak, there were 15 local roads closed in the shire due to flooding, water over the road and trees down. VicRoads also closed Anzac Avenue and Emily Street in Seymour and Upper Goulburn Road from Tallarook to Trawool.

Mayor Cr Rhonda Sanderson said that there was minor damage to the Seymour Visitor Information Centre, which has re-opened. The opening weekend for council’s outdoor pools was postponed.

“There is still a lot of debris in places and damage to roads, so we urge our community to take care and drive with caution when entering these re-opened areas. We will continue the damage assessment today and hope to re-open the remainder of the roads soon,” Cr Sanderson said.

“You may still see water over the road signs in place while we continue the clean-up. Please take care in these areas. We’re currently assessing the impact and will be discussing any funding assistance as required,” she added.

Residents requiring information about damage to outbuildings and potential impacts on drinking water, septic tanks, mosquitoes, livestock, crops or economic impact to visit the relief and recovery tab or contact the Victorian Emergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.

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