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Thousands of people have been warned to brace for the worst as the threat of a once-in-50 years flood closes in.

Thousands of people have been warned to brace for the worst as the threat of a once-in-50 years flood closes in.

Rochester, in central Victoria, is preparing for a historic deluge over the next few days, with residents sandbagging their homes as the rain approaches.

As much as 100mm of rain is expected to fall in parts of the state on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, with wind speeds of up too 100km/h.

Parts of northern Tasmania are also in for a battering with “intense rainfall and damaging winds” forecast late on Wednesday and into Thursday.

The SES fear as many as 700 homes in Rochester could be flooded if the nearby Campaspe River bursts its banks.

The river could rise as much as nine metres, peaking on Saturday.

Thursday could potentially be Melbourne’s wettest October day on record if more than 61.4mm of rain falls, which would beat the previous record set on October 21, 2010.

In Tasmania, there could be 120mm of rain on Thursday – and nearly double that at higher altitude.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) warned this could spark “dangerous and life-threatening flooding”, as well as landslides.

“Locally, intense rainfall which may lead to dangerous and life-threatening flash flooding is also possible over inland parts of northwest Tasmania during this period, particularly about the Western Tiers, with six-hourly intense rainfall totals to 100mm, and 24 hour totals in excess of 300mm,” BOM said in a statement.

“North to northeasterly winds with damaging wind gusts with peak gusts of around 95km/h are possible over the Western Tiers, the northeast highlands, the north coast east of Devonport, and the east and southeastern coasts, developing during Thursday and becoming more likely into Thursday afternoon and evening.”

Sky News Meteorologist Alison Osborne said rainfall records could be broken in the state’s second biggest city, Launceston.

“Isolated falls of up to 200mm cannot be ruled out over northern parts of Tasmania, which could cause particularly dangerous flash flooding and rain records could be broken for October in towns like Launceston,” she said.

Major flooding is possible in parts of the Forth, North Esk, Mersey, lower Macquarie and Meander rivers, as well as the Ouse river.

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