I am a Paynesville CFA Volunteer and SES Regional Officer Adam Townsend, I was the Deputy Incident Controller working the nightshift during the week long Flood Operations. Outlined below is only a small snapshot from the week.
A multi agency Level 3 IMT was established at the Bairnsdale SES Regional Office which is co-located with District 11 HQ. CFA shared the Deputy Incident Controller role with SES, and assisted in a number of other roles including Public Information, Divisional and Sector Commander roles.
The event was an unusual event, it actually was three events in one. The first part of the weather event was a rain event, then wind event then the riverine flooding all within a short time frame.
A number of CFA brigades right across the Gippsland region ranging from Traralgon, Bairnsdale, Paynesville, Lakes Entrance, Loch Sport, Sale, Mallacoota, Cann River and Orbost (and others) worked as part of the event some involved in sandbagging and some in evacuations/rescues.
Around 9 (of the 14 or so that span from Traralgon to the NSW Border) river systems that feeds into the Gippsland Lakes with a number of communities who would be subsequently affected by the increased volumes of water into the Lakes. A high tide was expected at Lakes Entrance which in turn causes localised flooding for parts of the town due to the tidal influence and the increase volumes. If the water had reached its expected peak, some 450 properties would have been expected to see flood waters on their land or in their houses. Lakes Entrance CFA, SES and ADF personnel activated their flood response plan and put in place a large number of sandbags in which assisted in the reduced water impacts into the town.
A number of ground observor teams were also deployed to assist in the Rapid Impact Assessment data collection to assist in the reporting of any loss and damages.
The Princes Highway was closed for a number of days between Orbost to the NSW Border and at Stratford. The South Gippsland Highway between Sale and Yarram was also closed. Power from Orbost to NSW was also cut due to the storms for a number of days.