As expected, rain has already started falling over Melbourne. And those falls will only get heavier overnight and into Thursday and even Friday. “This … is probably the most significant rain event widespread across the state this year,” said the Bureau of Meteorology’s Kevin Parkyn.

Northern and Central Victoria – including Melbourne – are expected to see a deluge of between 30 and 60 millimetres over the next 48 hours, with flash flooding likely.

If you didn’t get around to it yesterday, any breaks in the weather today are a good time to get flood-ready. “Now is the time to be cleaning out your storm pits, your gutters around your house, and making sure you don’t have any debris lying around that could become a missile during strong winds,” said Tim Wiebusch of the Victoria State Emergency Service (SES).

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For urban areas, flash flooding poses a significant risk in the coming days. Broadsheet has taken a closer look at how different parts of the city might be impacted using the SES’s Local Flood Guide. Each local government area’s (LGA) landing page links out to maps of where flooding might affect the area.

City of Melbourne – including Carlton, Southbank, Kensington and North Melbourne
The SES says the CBD and its surrounding suburbs have a history of both riverine and flash flooding from high-intensity rain events like the one we’re about to see. The most recent flooding events in the city occurred in 2005 and 2010, and caused major disruptions to public transport and traffic, as well as significant property damage. Elizabeth Street is the city’s lowest point. A major rain event coinciding with high tide in Port Phillip Bay can lead to flooding along that thoroughfare (including the entrance to Melbourne Central Station). The SES says other locations vulnerable to flash flooding in the CBD include Flinders Street, Flinders Lane, Bourke Street and Therry Street.

THE NORTH

Yarra – including Fitzroy, Collingwood, Abbotsford and Richmond
The City of Yarra also has a history of both riverine and flash flooding thanks to its proximity to Merri Creek, Dights Falls and the Yarra River. Almost all areas in the city are at risk according to the SES, including Fitzroy and Fitzroy North, Carlton North, Collingwood, Richmond and Abbotsford. While there is no local flood guide currently available for the area, the City of Yarra's flood management plan can be found here.

Merri-bek – including Brunswick, Coburg and Pascoe Vale
In the newly renamed municipality – formerly the City of Moreland – prolonged rainfall can impact Merri Creek, with walking and bike paths likely to be inundated. The Merri Creek trail, Coburg Lake Park and Jackson Reserve are particularly vulnerable.

The SES says areas that could be affected by sudden flooding in Coburg North include Sussex Street, from South Street, across Boundary Road to Kent Street; the east end of Kent Street; Pallet Street at Bakers Road; Allenby Street; as well as the cycle path on Renown Street (opposite Elliot Street).

Darebin – including Northcote, Thornbury and Preston
In this LGA, Merri and Darebin creeks are particularly vulnerable locations, with areas alongside both often becoming flooded during storms. The Northcote Golf Course and AH Capp Reserve are at risk of inundation. The SES says the flooding in this area can often come with little to no warning and can cause severe damage.

The SES also says the following streets in Thornbury should be avoided if flooding occurs: Ford Crescent; St Georges Road before it gets to Dundas Street; Bell Street between O’Keefe and Albert streets; and the area around Station and Clarendon streets.

THE SOUTH

Port Phillip – including St Kilda, South Melbourne and Elwood
More than a third of the City of Port Phillip is three metres or less above sea level, making it very vulnerable to flash flooding. The SES says that while flood waters can rise very quickly around the bay without much warning, they tend to recede within a few hours. Shakespeare Grove’s open channels are particularly vulnerable to overflow during high-intensity rainfall.

In South Melbourne, the Hanna Street main drain (that runs along King’s Way) can be an issue and in Elwood, the SES says Elster Creek and the Elwood Canal can rise very suddenly, leaving little time for locals to prepare.

Stonnington – including South Yarra, Prahran and Toorak
The SES says areas around South Yarra, Toorak and Prahran have historically been severely impacted by flooding (anyone who has driven Alexandra Avenue during heavy rain knows how easily the road floods), but that extensive remedial work over the years has lessened the risk. The last major incident across Stonnington was in 2011 when a number of commercial buildings and residences were evacuated, and extensive basement flooding occurred. The SES doesn’t have an active flood guide for the area, but you can view Stonnington's flood management plan on the council's website.

Glen Eira – including Caulfield, Elsternwick and Ormond
In January 2011, this LGA had its worst flood in more than a decade with around 350 homes and businesses impacted. The SES says as little as three to six hours of consistent rainfall is enough to put pressure on the city’s drainage system and put much of the area at risk.

Areas especially vulnerable include Tyrone Street; McKinnon Road; Prince Edward Avenue; Wheeler Street; Bailey Avenue; the south end of Glen Orme Avenue; the south end of Cadby Avenue; and the north end of Station Avenue.

THE WEST

Maribynong – including Footscray, Yarraville and Seddon
The namesake suburb sits on a floodplain and once the Maribyrnong River breaks its banks – as it did most recently in 2011 – the whole area can become victim to slow-moving flood waters, which can take days to recede thanks to the flat terrain.

For Footscray and surrounding areas, places to avoid if flash flooding occurs include the bus depot on Barkly Street in Seddon; Geelong Road in Footscray; Footscray Cemetery; and Summerhill Road between Eden Street and Ballarat Road.

THE EAST

Boroondara – including Glen Iris, Camberwell and Hawthorn
Glen Iris has been impacted by several major floods in recent years. In 2016, it was hit hard by a severe city-wide storm that caused flash flooding, road closures and train delays across the area. The SES received more than 1200 calls for assistance. In 2011, a drenching of 146 millimetres fell in just 15 hours resulting in a 5.6-metre flood at the Gardiners Creek gauge, according to the SES, and the Solway pedestrian bridge was washed away. In floods during both 2004 and 2006, Ashburton Train Station had water lapping at the platforms’ edges.

Roads in Glen Iris that can be most impacted are Elm Road, High Street and Moira Street. Across Hawthorn and Hawthorn East they include: Camberwell Road north-west of the junction; Camberwell Junction; Glenferrie Road (both north and south of Burwood Road); Auburn Road near Auburn Station; Burwood Road west of Glenferrie Road; and Oxley Road near Glenferrie Road.

Can’t see your suburb? Find more flood information for all Victorian LGAs online.