This handout photograph taken on Nov 14, 2022 and released by New South Wales State Emergency Service shows officials efforting in rescue work in the flooded towns around the overflowing Wyangala Dam near Cowra. (HANDOUT / NSW STATE EMERGENCY SERVICE / AFP)
CANBERRA – The premier of the Australian state of South Australia (SA) has warned flooding in the state's Riverland region could peak at the highest level in more than 60 years.
SA Premier Peter Malinauskas on Saturday told reporters that the flow of the River Murray is expected to peak at approximately 190 gigaliters of water per day over the next week, which is at the lower level of projections, before falling to about 100 gigaliters by February.
As a result, the river is expected to peak at a level higher than the 1931 flood levels but lower than the 1956 flood event — one of the biggest disasters in SA history
As a result, the river is expected to peak at a level higher than the 1931 flood levels but lower than the 1956 flood event — one of the biggest disasters in SA history.
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More than 1,000 properties along the river have been inundated by flood waters since mid-December and 14 levees have failed.
Authorities have predicted that up to 4,000 properties will be inundated by the flood.
Malinauskas said that 25,000 overnight bed stays have been prepared for emergency relief and a 50 million Australian dollar relief fund set up.
As of Saturday morning 3,620 homes were without power and six out of 11 river crossings were closed.
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"The closer the event comes, the more confidence we have around the data, but we also are very mindful of the fact that it is variable," Malinauskas told reporters.
"That allows people to plan accordingly, but most importantly it provides an opportunity for our emergency services to be in the appropriate state at the appropriate time in the right location."
On Friday Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said thousands of Australians were facing "difficult" Christmas periods amid extreme weather across the country.