CHILDREN at South Warrnambool Kindergarten had an early finish to term two yesterday as the rising Merri River threatened to spill over into the playground for a second time this week.
Parents were notified of the closure on Thursday afternoon as city officials prepared for a possible repeat of Tuesday’s wild weather conditions.
Warrnambool City’s manager of community services Kellie King said the decision was made to close the kinder yesterday on advice of a possible repeat of Tuesday’s evacuation of the centre when high tides and strong winds caused the Merri to burst its banks and lap at the kindergarten’s back door.
“We went back to our emergency management team and decided that closing the kinder as a precaution was the best move,” she said.
“We didn’t want to risk the safety of the children and have to call parents in again at late notice if an evacuation was needed.
“Parents were called on Thursday afternoon and they were pleased we took the precaution and gave them plenty of notice.”
A strong southerly wind change was expected at 11pm last night and was expected to again bring big swells similar to those seen on Tuesday.
The city’s manager of infrastructure services Glenn Reddick said work crews were on stand-by overnight in case roads and footpaths needed to be closed.
He said while last night’s wind change coincided with low tide, unlike Tuesday when it coincided with high-tide, council still wanted to be prepared, “just in case”.
“There are water-filled barriers, sandbags and signage ready to go,” he said. “On Tuesday we had strong winds, high tides and big seas all lining up together. We aren’t expecting that on Friday night, but weather is unpredictable so we want to make sure we are prepared.”
The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning for the south-west yesterday afternoon. Damaging winds of 60km/h with peak gusts of 100km/h were expected overnight and today as a cold front moves across the region. A sheep graziers warning was also issued for the whole state.
Temperatures are only expected to reach about 13 degrees today and tomorrow with a high chance of up to 10 millimetres of rain.