By Brendan Rees
A massive clean-up was underway after Casey was hit by a torrential deluge on Friday afternoon, 14 February, leading to flashing flooding, fallen trees, and traffic mayhem.
Cars were left underwater at various locations including Cranbourne Park Shopping Centre and Berwick Lodge Primary School, with dozens of roads flooded, causing chaos during peak hour.
Residents reported the heavy rain was the worst they had experienced in decades, as they mopped up an inch of water in their homes while others said their kitchen and power were damaged, and a nature strip “disappearing” under water.
Narre Warren State Emergency Service fielded 97 calls in about seven hours to 9.45pm, ranging from flooding, fallen trees and building damage.
Among the areas flooded was Narre Warren North Road where all southbound lanes on were closed at the Princes Highway.Flooding also affected Magid Drive in Narre Warren and Ballarto Road in Clyde.
On the Monash Freeway, delays were back to Ernst Wanke Road while the Bourke Road exit inbound was also affected by flooding but traffic was able to exit as VicRoads crews attended the scene.
A resident reported roads at Cranbourne Park Primary school being under water during pick-up time as flooding also caused traffic pain on Pound Road, Hampton Park.
Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Keris Arndt said a low pressure trough moved slowly through the south, triggering thunderstorms across Casey dumping between 10 to 30mm of rain and 60mm in Cardinia.
Narre Warren SES duty controller Damian Burns said one home in Cranbourne was soaked under one inch of flood water, destroying every room.
The house, he said, at the corner of Fairbairn Road and Sladen Street, was left in an “unliveable” state.
“Literally every room – the carpet was just soaked, so when you walk on it puddles of water welled up. The vinyl of the wooden floors was just lifting everywhere,” Mr Burns said.
He said the people renting at the home were able to find alternative accommodation but the owner was left “scratching his head,” who said insurance wouldn’t be able to cover the damage.
“He was just amazed and he was like ‘I’ll just go to Bunnings to get a wet and dry vac’,” Mr Burns said.
Mr Burns said blocked roads and heavy traffic hampered their efforts to respond to jobs unless they required urgent rescue where they could activate lights and sirens.
“Everything was jammed; we were just wasting our time sitting in traffic,” he said, adding about 50mm of rain fell in Cranbourne.
Robert Kelly, a teacher at Berwick Lodge Primary school, said he was shocked to find his Toyota Prius half-submerged over a flooded school carpark.
“I was out on the basketball court doing yard duty at lunchtime and I got sunburnt on the back of my neck … an hour an half later my car’s flooded and I’m out in pouring rain trying to bucket water out of my car,” Mr Kelly said, adding his car was written-off but luckily covered by insurance.