Rural Australian towns brace for high river peaks

January 17, 2011 06:15

MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia's flooding crisis headed south Monday into Victoria state, where record floods were predicted for several rural communities facing rivers swollen from heavy upstream rains.

Officials expected floodwaters to drown out highways and isolate dozens of towns in the northeastern part of the state in some of the worst flooding there in a century.Residents are wary after three weeks of devastating flooding caused 28 deaths in the northeastern state of Queensland. The region's key Murray-Darling river basin links that state with New South Wales and Victoria to the south, and drains into the sea via South Australia on the south-central coast.

In Victoria, State Emergency Services spokeswoman Natasha Duckett warned that the Victoria town of Horsham could face a major flood during Monday's expected peak of the Wimmera River, and electricity supplier Powercor was sandbagging its substation there to ensure it remained dry.

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