Parts of Victoria had a month of rain in just 24 hours by early Friday afternoon, with emergency workers called to rescue two people from flash floods and more rain on the way.
Emergency services were also searching on Friday afternoon for an 18-year-old male hiker who spent the night at Lerderderg State Park, north-west of Melbourne.
The man’s friends reported him missing after being unable to contact him since shortly before midnight on Thursday.
Earlier on Friday, as the rain hammered down across much of Victoria, the State Emergency Service rescued a driver from a vehicle trapped in floodwaters in South Melbourne, and another from a vehicle in Bendigo.
It said it had received 400 calls for help in the past 24 hours, mostly for leaking roofs and other storm damage.
Most of Victoria copped an early drenching in what the weather bureau said was the wettest day for a year.
Parts of metropolitan Melbourne had 40 millimetres of rain between 9am-2pm on Friday.
In the three hours from 9am, 31 millimetres fell at Melbourne Airport,. with 33 millimetres at Laverton, in the city’s west.
But the heaviest falls were in the Grampians in the state’s west, with 68 millimetres falling at Mount William.
SES operations manager Josh Gamble warned residents in flood-prone areas to be ready with sandbags should the waters rise later on Friday.
“We know flash flooding comes up out of nowhere,” he said.
Flood watches were in place for the Avoca and Campaspe rivers, but there had so far been no reports of major rivers bursting their banks.
Mr Gamble also urged motorists not to drive through floodwaters, saying it took only 15 centimetres of water on a road for a vehicle to float.
The Bureau of Meteorology’s Dean Narramore said more wet weather was to come later on Friday and conditions might not ease until Saturday morning.
“Flooding and flash flooding is definitely going to become an issue in the coming days and weeks,” he said.
Flood warnings remained in place for many Victorian rivers. The bureau had also issued a road weather alert for metropolitan Melbourne.
NSW cops a bucketing
NSW hasn’t escaped the rain, with most areas of the state getting something in the gauge on Friday.
Thunderstorms on Thursday night drenched parts of the state, bringing a dramatic change after a heatwave earlier in the week.
However, an earlier severe weather warning for the central west slopes and plains, south-west slopes, Riverina, lower western and upper western forecast districts was cancelled.
“The immediate threat of severe weather has passed with the easing of the rain rate from the rain band in the south and west, but the situation will continue to be monitored,” BOM said.
“As the rain band transitions to showers and thunderstorms, severe thunderstorm warnings will be issued during the day if necessary.”