More likely to occur during the summer months, between December and April, cyclones are a part of life in Queensland. And while local councils and communities are well versed in how to prepare for one, it is critical the potential threat of a cyclone isn’t underestimated or ignored.
Cyclones and severe storms can produce hail, flooding, lighting, winds greater than 200km/h and storm surges. Severity from a low category 1, indicative of a weak cyclone, to a high category 5 for the most severe cyclones.
Upon a cyclone warning
If you happen to be in the region in the event of a cyclone warning, pay attention to all news updates. If your holiday rental property owner, campsite manager, or hotel hasn’t been in contact in the event of a cyclone, inform them immediately of the warning.
- Homeowners are advised to store loose articles, such as furniture and pot plants, indoors.
- Shelter and secure pets.
- Secure windows with strong packing tape in a criss-cross pattern. If windows have shutters, use them. Close the curtains or blinds.
- Move wheelie bins inside or fill with water.
- Park vehicles under shelter or cover with firmly tied tarpaulin or blankets.
- If instructed by authorities, turn off electricity and gas main supplies.
- Fill baths and buckets with clean water in the event of water restrictions.
- Unplug all electrical items, aerials, and computer modems.
- Prepare an evacuation kit.
Do you need to evacuate?
Contact your local council to determine whether you should evacuate or not. If your home is located in a storm tide evacuation area you’ll need to seek an area further inland or on higher ground.
When the cyclone strikes
- Keep calm and stay inside.
- Don’t use the land telephone line or taps as lightning can travel down both.
- Shelter in the strongest part of the house away from windows, doors, and skylights.
- If the house starts to break up, protect yourself with mattresses, rugs or blankets. Anchor yourself to a strong fixture (such as water pipes) or get under a strong table or bench.
- Beware of the calm eye of the storm. Don't assume the cyclone is over if the wind dies down. Due to the amount of pressure in the eye, the weather can be clear with light wind, no clouds and possibly sunshine. The size of the eye can vary from 10km to 100km. Do not go outside until you hear official advice it is safe to do so.
After the cyclone
- Don't go outside until advised officially that the cyclone has passed. There may be damaged powerlines, building, fallen trees and flood water that could pose a serious threat.
- Listen to news updates.
- If you had to evacuate, don't go home until advised.
More information about cyclones and how to prepare
- Tropical cyclones in Queensland (Australian Govt., Bureau of Meteorology) www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/about/eastern.shtml
- Cyclones and severe storms (Queensland Govt.) www.qld.gov.au/emergency/dealing-disasters/cyclone-severe-storm