8 Mar 2010

Wild weather in Victoria eases

10:57 am on 8 March 2010

Wild weather in Victoria has eased, after heavy rains battered the state for a second day in a row.

Huge hail storms, heavy rain and strong winds lashed Melbourne on Saturday, damaging homes and flooding streets.

On Sunday, the storms weakened as they travelled south, although there were heavy downpours in Melbourne's northern suburbs.

About 100,000 homes lost power in Melbourne on Saturday, and big infrastructure was damaged, including Docklands Stadium, the Arts Centre and Southern Cross Railway Station.

Meanwhile, people in parts of New South Wales are being advised to stock up on supplies because heavy flooding is forecast.

Flash flooding forced evacuations in the Riverina district on Sunday night, and landholders in the northwest are moving stock ahead of floods predicted to be the biggest in 20 years.

The emergency service regional controller for the state's far west, Graeme Craig, says people could be isolated for up to five weeks.

Flooding bill

Floodwaters still affect at least three towns in Queensland.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh says the cost of flood damage in the state's southern inland areas could run into hundreds of millions of dollars.

Ms Bligh has toured flood-affected areas in and around St George, which is preparing for a massive clean-up after the town's biggest flood in more than a century.

The flooded Balonne River is set to remain high for several days, although authorities say the threat to St George has passed, reports the ABC.

About 25 homes in St George were flooded when the river peaked around 13.5 metres late on Saturday. here were fears up to 80% of the town would have been swamped if floodwaters had reached the predicted 14 metres.

Ms Bligh visited some of the flooded houses and says the damage to roads and infrastructure across southern Queensland is immense.

She says as well as financial assistance, the State Government will offer whatever practical help it can.