Flash flooding wreaks havoc in Geelong
- From: Herald Sun
- February 19, 2014
A BURST of heavy rain has wreaked havoc in Geelong, with flash flooding causing damage across the town.
Geelong Racecourse recorded 54mm of rain in an hour and drivers were caught off-guard with some cars stranded as the water rose to waist height in some low-lying areas.
Two drivers were trapped in their cars by the floodwater but were rescued safely by emergency services.
The playing surface at Simonds Stadium was temporarily under water before the NAB Challenge match between the Western Bulldogs and St Kilda.
Flash flooding also occurred around the change rooms.
The front of a building near the Ormornd Rd and Bellarine Highway intersection collapsed due to the rain.
But while the storm raged in Geelong, Melbourne avoided the worst of the wild weather, with the city recording only about 5mm of rain.
Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Terry Ryan said a few more showers were likely on Wednesday night but “the heaviest stuff is probably gone”.
“There’s the chance of another rumble (of thunder) but nothing like the severity we’ve had,” Mr Ryan said.
In Geelong, almost 40 people called the SES for help and spokesman Stefan Delatovic said the rain had hit extremely quickly.
He said several buildings had been damaged by flash flooding, with volunteers also helping two people trapped in their cars.
“Floodwaters can rise pretty fast and it took them by surprise,” Mr Delatovic said.
About 180 children, parents and staff were evacuated from the Viatek Geelong Basketball and Netball Centre on South Geelong as the downpour flooded four of its courts.
“We had to call of our junior games and the entire senior night as a result, when you get something like 25mm of rain in 20 minutes it doesn’t matter what you gutter system is like,” centre manager Dan Riches said.
“We’ve never seen anything this heavy down here, we were mid-round when it happened and we’ve got a dozen people on deck with squeegee and towels trying to maintain things.”
Geelong Fine Art School teacher Robert Drummond said he had to evacuate with his class of about eight students.
“It just pelted down (with rain) for about 10 or 12 minutes,” he said.
“There’s two hills that meet here under a bridge ... and suddenly there was three feet of water coming down the hill and we had to evacuate.
“I had to take them (the students) to higher ground ... I haven’t seen a flood like this since 1995.”
Mr Drummond said he estimated the flash flooding had caused more than $10,000 damage to antiques and artwork.