VICTORIANS are being told to remain on high alert as rivers continue to swell, potentially threatening more homes.
The warning that the state is not yet in the clear comes after 73 properties were flooded over the weekend in the biggest downpour to hit Victoria in 25 years.
Wangaratta residents are continuing to sandbag properties after authorities warned rising water levels in two nearby rivers were threatening up to 20 more homes.
Gippsland residents were also warned to "stay tuned about your river system in your backyard".
Flooding has this morning closed part of Heatherton Road, between Stud Rd and the Monash Freeway.
Premier Daniel Andrews visited the affected communities yesterday, and said it was lucky only a few homes had water "above the floorboards" and, despite the ongoing concerns, the worst was over.
"We have had all manner of records in terms of the numbers, of the amount of rainfall that we have experienced over these last few days," he said.
"There is still significant work to do as threats are still posed to some of those northeast communities,"
People have been told to watch the Ovens River at Wangaratta, Seven Creeks south of Euroa and the Yarra River flowing into Melbourne.
Coldstream and Healesville are forecast to receive moderate flooding later today with afternoon flooding expected in city areas including Abbotsford, Heidelberg and Alphington.
Water levels at Euroa, where streets were left underwater on Saturday, peaked at 5.1m but began to ease yesterday.
Wangaratta local Ben said he'd been sandbagging his house, which lies near the Ovens River, just in case.
"Look, you never know, but it's better to be safe than sorry,'' he said.
Emergency services and authorities shot down claims they had overdramatised the looming storm, which had been flagged as a threat to Melbourne's CBD and surrounding suburbs.
Senior bureau forecaster Kevin Parkin said Victoria had the highest rainfall in 24 hours since 1992 - more than 100mm in some areas.
However, the downpour largely missed urban areas, helping avoid widespread havoc in Melbourne.
The SES received more than 2500 calls for help from across the state.
Emergency Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said it had been a significant event and revealed several drivers had ignored warnings and entered flood waters, requiring assistance to escape.
Federal Minister for Justice Michael Keenan and Victorian Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino today announced a disaster assistance package for Victorians affected.
GRANDMA, 93, SAVED FROM HOME
A VICTORIAN grandmother has described being carried from her flooded home by emergency workers during a late-night rescue.
Ruth Greene, 93, told the Herald Sun the damage to her Euroa home was "disastrous" after emergency service workers came to her aid at 2am on Saturday.
"The water came way, way up," Ms Greene said. "They knocked on my door and said 'you can't stay here, the water's coming in too quick'."
Ms Greene's house was among the worst affected of 73 houses flooded and many Victorians in the northeast face a big clean-up.
Matthew and Kelly Willey, also from Euroa, surveyed the damage to their property today after floodwater filled their garage and shed.
"We lost everything that was in there," Ms Willey said.
"We'll have to replace our air conditioner, as well as the outside motors (which) were ruined by the water.
"There was enough rain to float the cars and the caravan out front; it was pretty big."
Elsewhere, despite record-breaking rain and damage to property, regional Victorians showed resilience.
Myrtleford local Brendan Cusack said there was an "air of relief" at the local pub where he worked. "There's a feeling of relief we escaped it this time. It could've been a lot worse," Mr Cusack said.
Nearby, Steve Mooney, who leases a beef farming property in Everton, said he had sustained some damage but hoped the water would subside quickly. "Some of the water will still be on its way, so we're just monitoring it as it comes," Mr Mooney said.
"We've only had one other flood this year so far, we've been lucky.
"A big worry is the 10,000 brown snakes that come up the river; they're known to bite animals. You can get caught off guard and then your animals drown and all sorts of other horrible things, so we're glad to be over-prepared."
Mr Mooney was also looking after a neighbouring property for friends who were overseas.
"I fixed their fences, moved their cattle to higher ground - it's just the sort of thing you do for your mates," he said.
At Wangaratta, Painters Island Caravan Park was evacuated as the threat of floodwater was considered too great.
Another local caravan park owner, Peter Crotty, said the unseasonal downpour was bad for business.
"There are a number of people who have avoided the area altogether because of the weather, however, so we've had a massive drop in business because of the flood warnings and the events that have been subsequently cancelled," Mr Crotty said.
In some streets of Euroa, Myrtleford and Wangaratta locals waded through knee-deep water.
Nina, a beef farmer from Everton, said she woke to substantial water on her 50ha property on Saturday night but told the Herald Sun "flooding is better than fire for us".
SES Myrtleford assistant chief officer Keith O'Brien said the region had escaped with only minimal damage.
"The community here is frequently affected by floods," he said.
"We will see more floods and want to work with our community to minimise damage and the risk to life."
Despite the volume of rain being less than forecast, some Melbourne suburbs also struggled to cope with the deluge.
Emergency Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said several drivers had "disappointingly" ignored warnings, by entering flood waters and in some cases required assistance.
In Williamstown, a young man was rescued from his car after attempting to cross a swollen creek.
In Abbotsford, kayakers took advantage of surging water to hit the Yarra River at Dights Falls.
INSURANCE CLAIMS FLOW
VICTORIANS assessing damage to their homes from wild weather have begun to contact their insurers, with hundreds of claims lodged over the weekend.
Insurance Council of Australia spokesman Campbell Fuller said more than 200 claims appeared to have been lodged but this figure was surprisingly low.
"That would be the level of claims we'd see for a relatively small summer storm," he said.
"Insurers may see more claims in coming days as people assess the damage, particularly from those in the flooded northeastern parts of the state.
"To the credit of Melburnians, they heeded the warnings of the weather bureau and many of them did their best to minimise damage to their property."
But one luxury car owner could have a nervous wait after his Maserati became stuck in a flooded underpass in Footscray. Photos of the submerged car were circulated online and sparked concerns the unfortunate owner might not be able to claim coverage.
Mr Fuller said the insurers would have to assess every detail of the accident.
"In general, comprehensive motor vehicle insurance covers storm damage," Mr Fuller said.
SKY CAM CAPTURES EUROA FLOODS
DRONE images from Euroa resident Anthony Chisholm have captured the extent of flooding in Victoria's northeast on the weekend.
The images, taken on Saturday, show Sevens Creek flooding over the landmark Burton's Bridge, touching the edge of a few local properties and completely surrounding others.
"It's an amazing shot which shows the volume of water that has come through here," Mr Chisholm said.
A comparison image, taken in January 2017, shows the river flowing at normal level.
"The sheer volume of rain was extraordinary, a friend who has been in Euroa for 35 years said she hadn't experienced rain quite like it before," he said.
"The community pulling together helping each other out is amazing - it makes Euroa such an amazing place to live."
The Euroa golf course was also engulfed by water.
Mr Chisholm, an aircraft engineer in Melbourne, and his wife Felicity spend their weekends in Euroa, but were unable to gain access to their properties when they arrived Friday night due to flood waters.
"It was a very passive attempt via two different routes but we just stopped, as it was the sensible thing to do because of the amount of water on the road.
"We gave up at about 2am and stayed at the Castle Creek Motel."
The Bureau of Meteorology reported Sevens Creek peaked at 5.10 metres around 7am on Saturday, with the major flood level for the creek at 4.6 metres.
The creek's water levels were falling throughout Sunday, with a further 5 to 10mm of rain forecasted for Sunday.
THE STORM IN NUMBERS
■ Mount St Leonard, near Healesville, is the wettest spot in the state, drenched with 235mm
■ Half the state has received its entire December average already
■ Saturday was Victoria's wettest day in six years, and the wettest December day since 1993
■ Residents in Kialla West, near Shepparton, are at high risk, with flooding expected to peak at 5.9m early Monday morning
■ Euroa has been hit hardest by floods, with Seven Creeks peaking at 5.1m
■ Minor flooding is expected along Wangaratta along the Ovens River, and along the Yarra River from Healesville to Abbotsford
■ Melbourne saw its wettest 24 hours since 1992, with the CBD receiving 67mm of rain since Friday, and more than the December average of rain in just 48 hours
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