The Murray River is forecast to peak later than expected

South Australian residents living around the River Murray will have more time to prepare for recent severe flooding, with the first peak now expected in mid-December.

Prime Minister Peter Malinaukas said 175 gigalitres of water per day are still expected to flood the river, but it is now predicted to arrive in Renmark on December 14 – a few days later than originally thought.

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It will continue downstream on Waikerie on December 23 and reach Mannum on December 27.

Malinaukas said it has given people more time to prepare for the worst as recent heavy rains, which are causing devastating and deadly flooding in the eastern states, pour into South Australia.

“We haven’t seen a volume of water crossing the boundary at a higher point since 1974… we’re now seeing over 140 gigalitres in the Murray River,” he said.

“If you fail in planning and preparation, the community around you must make the effort.”

Emergency services expect the Murray to peak for a second time around Christmas, with the most likely scenario being 185 gigalitres per day, but with a slim chance of up to 220 gigalitres.

About 12,000 Riverland residents were given messages warning of the dangers of rising tides, while aid centers opened in three towns along the Murray.

About 175 gigalitres of water per day are expected to flow into the River Murray in South Australia in mid-December. Recognition: Matthew Schiller/Facebook

Malinaukas said the government will subsidize hundreds of free hotel rooms for people who need emergency shelter for up to two weeks during the flooding.

Police visited more than 600 homes that were likely to be flooded once flood waters reached 200 gigalitres a day, but fewer than 200 residents were home at the time.

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said more than 200 families have told police they want to stay in their homes during the emergency, while 114 of those planning to leave have already planned where they will go but 42 need shelter. The Murray River is forecast to peak later than expected

James Brien

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