Cyclones and severe storms

Cyclones and severe storms can produce hail, flooding rains,  lightning, winds greater than 200km/h and storm surge.

Pay attention to weather forecasts during storm season (November–April)—keeping informed will help you protect your family and property.

Prepare your home for cyclones and severe storms before they happen.

When you hear a severe storm or cyclone warning

  • Stay tuned in to warnings
  • Contact family and neighbours to make sure everyone knows
  • Shelter and secure animals
  • Secure outdoor furniture, and any other loose outside items
  • If you have a swimming pool, submerge plastic outdoor furniture to prevent it flying around in high winds
  • Move wheelie bins inside or fill with water
  • Park vehicles under shelter or cover with firmly tied tarpaulins or blankets
  • Unplug all electrical items, aerials and computer modems
  • Turn off electricity and gas main supplies if instructed by authorities
  • Fill buckets and baths with clean water in case the water supply becomes. restricted (make sure you have water purification tablets to make water drinkable)
  • Secure windows
  • If windows have shutters, close them
  • Tape other windows (without shutters) in a criss-crossing pattern using strong packing tape
  • Close curtains or blinds
  • If you have a boat, secure it.

Evacuate or stay at home?

Find out from your council if your home is in a storm tide evacuation area. If it is, stay with friends or family who live in secure accommodation, in an area further inland and on higher ground.

If you don't live in a storm tide evacuation area, staying in your home is often the best option. However, if you live in a home built before 1982, or have special needs, it may be safer to stay with family or friends in a newer home.

Consider  any special medical needs you may have, such as access to power, clean water  (for dialysis) or oxygen.

Make sure you have an evacuation plan and kit.

Cyclone shelters

Consider a cyclone shelter only as a last resort—cyclone shelters have very basic facilities and are intended as short-term shelter.

Your local council will decide when to open a cyclone shelter. It will be announced on local ABC radio (ABC frequency finder) and other media.

The Department of Housing and Public Works maintains a register of cyclone shelters. These shelters are multi-purpose and are available for year-round use as community sports facilities.

Please contact your local council for more information about your nearest cyclone shelter.

During a severe storm or cyclone

If at home:

  • stay tuned in to warnings (keep a battery-powered radio in your emergency kit)
  • activate your emergency plan
  • stay inside and shelter well clear of windows, doors and skylights
  • don't use a landline telephone or taps during a severe storm—lightning can travel down phone lines and plumbing.
  • If  the building starts to break up, shelter in the strongest part (cellar, internal room, hallway or built-in wardrobe) under a mattress, strong table or bench.

If outdoors, seek solid enclosed shelter.

If driving, stop clear of trees, power lines and streams.

After a cyclone

The time immediately after a cyclone is often as dangerous as the event itself. People have been injured or killed while sightseeing in the aftermath.

Once authorities have advised that the cyclone has passed, remember to:

  • listen to your radio and remain indoors until advised it is safe to go outside
  • use recommended safe routes to return to your home
  • not go sightseeing
  • check on your neighbours if necessary
  • not use electrical appliances that have been wet, until they are checked for safety
  • boil or purify your water until supplies are declared safe
  • stay away from damaged powerlines, fallen trees and flood water
  • contact your local council if you need help, or if your home is uninhabitable due to cyclone damage.

More information