More Victorians told to leave home immediately with floodwaters rising rapidly and expected to peak over the weekend

Floodwaters in Victoria are continuing to wreak havoc for residents as thousands more residents have been told to “evacuate immediately”.

Multiple rivers across the flooded state have begun to overflow and many of the peaks are expected to be reached over the weekend.

The Bureau of Meteorology is also warning that some communities down the Murray Rivers including Echuca and Moama could see major flooding at higher levels than the 2016 floods and possibly higher than those seen in the 1993 event next week.

Residents around the communities of Rochester, Murchison, Maribyrnong River, Charlton and the low lying parts of Benalla Township have been told to leave home and seek refuge immediately.

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Vic Emergency has over 100 warnings in place for residents across the state and is responding to over 150 incidents as residents are either told to evacuate or get prepared to leave.

Major flooding is impacting Rochester with the Campaspe River expected to have hit its peak on Friday afternoon with the floodwaters not expected to subside for 10 days.

Residents in the area have been told to evacuate immediately and can take shelter at Bendigo Showgrounds where a relief centre has been set up or at a family member or friend’s home in an unaffected area.

The safest route out of Rochester is the Northern Highway.

Emergency services have issued an evacuate now warning for those in the area between Goulburn River and Shepparton with major flooding occurring along the river.

The Goulburn River at Murchison is currently at 10.28 metres and rising and is expected to exceed the major flood level on Friday evening but could still reach around 12.00 metres on Saturday afternoon.

Residents should leave immediately for a friend’s home or the relief site at McIntosh Centre at the Shepparton Show Grounds and the safest route out is the Goulburn Valley Highway.

Floodwaters are rapidly rising at the Maribyrnong River in Maribyrnong with a number of properties expected to be impacted with residents told to leave now.

A relief centre has been established at the Maribyrnong Community Centre otherwise fleeing residents should go to a friend’s home in an unaffected area and it is safest to travel to the relief centre by foot.

Charlton has also been issued with an “evacuate immediately” warning with water rapidly rising with major flooding expected to hit at 8am on Saturday while the floods are not expected to subside for three to five days.

Residents fleeing their homes can visit a relief centre at Wycheproof P-12 College or a friend’s home and the safest evacuation route the Calder Highway.

Those in the low lying areas of Benalla have also been told to leave their homes immediately and travel to a friend’s home in an unaffected area or the relief centre that has been opened at Benalla Performing Arts Centre.

Floodwaters are rising rapidly and are expected to reach 4.5 metres over the weekend.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese earlier on Friday declared the federal government was ready to step in and provide assistance for the affected regions after speaking to Premier Daniel Andrews.

“This is a difficult time, my heart goes out to those communities who are affected at this time,” he said at a press conference in Sydney.

“The federal government stands ready to provide whatever assistance is requested in accordance with our responsibilities from NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.”

Mr Andrews revealed there had been more than 200 flood rescues of motorists driving through waters “that could have been prevented”.

“It’s very dangerous for you and it’s also very dangerous for the emergency services, volunteer or career member, that first responder to come and rescue you,” he said.

“While you’re being rescued, somebody else can’t get the support that they need or may have to wait longer. So please, don’t play in floodwater and please, we can only request, we can only ask, please don’t drive into floodwaters.”

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