Hopkins River fails to reach 2011 flood levels

Floodwater levels in Allansford and Panmure peaked on Sunday without any damage to buildings.

However, Allansford resident Shane Edwards said the swollen river had flooded part of his backyard and washed away his wooden garden path.

“It just popped up out of the water, even though it was all bolted together and it was floating around,” Mr Edwards said.

“The beam that holds the deck was underwater.

“This is just normally a little tiny creek full of rocks… you can jump from one rock to the next to get to the other side.”

Mount Emu Creek in Panmure peaked about midnight and by 12.30am Sunday the water level had already started to drop.

In Allansford, the Hopkins River peaked about midday on Sunday with levels about 1.5 metres below the predicted 2011 flood level.

State Emergency Services public information officer David Goldfinch said that authorities were not expecting the Hopkins River to peak again.

He said between 10 and 20mm of rainfall was predicted for Tuesday, but not enough to push the river levels back up again.

About 120 people attended community meetings in Allansford and Panmure on Saturday afternoon to be briefed about the looming flood.

SES operations officer Ken Smith reassured the Allansford meeting that crews had done all they could to prepare for the floods.

SES Warrnambool controller Giorgio Palmeri said on Saturday that crews had time on their side when preparing for the rising river.

“If we get the same levels as 2011, we had a handful of houses that were actually affected,” Mr Palmeri said.

On Sunday, he said that the water levels never reached any of the sandbags that had been placed at key areas in Panmure, Allansford and Warrnambool.

The floodwaters have sent lots of debris floating down the river, some of which was being collected at the floating jetties near Proudfoots boathouse. 

“From dead cows, trees, TVs and beanbags. A bit of everything,” Mr Palmeri said. “The majority, I would say, would have been flushed to sea unfortunately.” 

On Sunday, at least one dead cow washed up of the beach near the Hopkins River mouth.

Allansford resident Neil Martin had shifted some things out of his garage on Saturday just in case the rising Hopkins River flooded part of his shed like it did once before in 2011.

“We’re just running sandbags around the bottom of the garage, shifted the fridge and freezer out of the garage and shifted other stuff higher,” he said.

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