Victorian man found dead in backyard as thousands flee floodwaters

A man has been found dead at a home in Rochester in Victoria's north after floodwaters swept through the area.

He was found in the backyard of his High St home about 9.30am on Saturday morning.

Victoria Police and SES crews are near the scene but unable to reach the property as it is cut off by floodwater.

Thousands of residents in central Victoria have been told to evacuate or prepare to leave their homes with no idea when they will be able to return.

A man and a dog navigate floodwater in Maribyrnong, Victoria.
Floods have left hundreds isolated and homes inundated in Victoria. Source: AAP

Emergency evacuation orders were in force on Saturday morning for Charlton Township at the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, Orrvale near Shepparton and the northeastern town of Wangaratta for properties within the Parfitt Road Levee System.

The evacuation order said major flooding was occurring on the Ovens River at Wangaratta, where the river was expected to reach 12.8 metres.

Shepparton in central Victoria is expected to experience its worst flooding in 48 years from Sunday and residents have been told to prepare to evacuate.

Town residents warned it's 'too late' to flee

It is now "too late" to leave the towns of Murchison and Murchison East, which are downstream of Shepparton along the Goulburn River.

While an evacuation warning remains in place, those living in Murchison and Murchison East, have been told "there is no longer enough time to safely leave", according to an alert issued by the Victorian Government on Saturday morning.

"If you have not evacuated, you should shelter in the higher location possible," it reads.

"Be aware that you may be isolated by floodwater for a significant amount of time.

"Floodwater is dangerous — never enter floodwater."

As of 10am on Saturday there were major flood warnings for parts of the Avoca River, Goulburn River, King River, Mt Emu Creek, Loddon Weir, Ovens River, Broken River and Seven Creeks.

A map showing all the evacuation orders and flood warning across Victoria. Source: Victorian Government
Emergency evacuation orders are in force for several communities across Victoria. Source: Victorian Government

Emergency services inundated with calls for help

The SES fielded almost 3600 calls for help in the 48 hours to 6pm Friday and rescued more than 230 people across the state in two days.

The federal and state governments agreed to use the recently retired $580 million Mickleham quarantine facility as emergency accommodation.

The facility will reopen early next week for 250 people with crisis accommodation available for six to eight weeks, but its actual use will depend on demand, the Victorian government confirmed.

People displaced by the floods are eligible for one-off payments of $560 per adult and $280 per child.

"There is major flooding occurring in multiple catchments right across the state, (and) some communities will move more towards relief and recovery sooner as waters start to recede," SES spokesman Jamie Devenish told AAP.

"A lot of those northern catchments ultimately flow into the Murray, so (for) the Murray River we're probably looking at a protracted flood event for the next four to six weeks.

"Some communities will be able to move to relief and recovery shortly, (while) others still be very much in emergency response over the coming weeks."

'Flood risk remains over coming days'

Water was receding in Maribyrnong on Friday afternoon, with the local council saying about 60 properties were impacted after the Maribyrnong River breached its banks.

Federal member for Maribyrnong, Bill Shorten, was in the area on Friday speaking to locals starting the cleanup.

He said many houses and a lot of community infrastructure had been damaged.

Floodwater inundates a property in Maribyrnong, Melbourne. Source: AAP
Water was receding in Maribyrnong on Friday afternoon, with the local council saying about 60 properties were impacted. Source: AAP

"I think that people here knew the theory of flood damage, but because it hasn't happened in a couple of generations of this significance I think it's a shock," Mr Shorten told ABC News.

However, the council warned there was still the potential risk of more flooding well into next week with further rain forecast and catchments already saturated.

The state's southwest and South Gippsland areas were forecast to receive at least 1mm of rain on Saturday, with more widespread rain on Sunday.

Mostly dry conditions were forecast for Monday and Tuesday, but flooding impacts would continue, the Bureau of Meteorology warned.

"Despite the easing rain, flood risk remains over coming days, with widespread moderate to major flooding expected across central and northern Victoria," the Bureau of Meteorology said in a statement.

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