There are two types of severe storms: thunderstorms and land gales.

Thunderstorms can produce hail, wind gusts, flash floods, tornadoes, and, lightning which can cause death, injury and damage to property. Thunderstorms are more common and generally more dangerous than land gales.

Land gales are simply gale force winds that occur over the land.

What you can do to prepare for severe storm season

  • Be aware of severe storm patterns in your area
  • Trim trees, remove overhanging branches and clear gutters and downpipes, clear yard of loose materials and rubbish
  • Secure loose roof tiles or sheets
  • Protect sky lights with wire mesh and fit glass windows and doors with shutters or insect screens
  • Prepare an emergency kit including emergency phone numbers, portable radio, torch, spare batteries, first aid kit, strong plastic bags for clothing, valuables, and plastic sheets, timber strips, hammers and nails for temporary repairs
  • Check boats are securely moored, or protected on land
  • Check home insurance is current and adequate (include building debris clean up/disposal costs)

When a severe storm approaches

  • Listen to a local radio station for severe storm advice and warnings
  • Shelter and secure animals
  • Put loose garden furniture, toys etc inside
  • Park vehicles under solid shelter or cover with firmly tied tarpaulins/blankets
  • Secure all external doors and windows and draw curtains
  • Keep valuables, medications, spare clothing in plastic bags and your emergency kit handy
  • Disconnect all electrical items, external TV/radio aerials and computer modems

When a severe storm strikes

  • Listen to your (portable) radio for severe storm updates
  • Stay inside and shelter well clear of windows, doors and skylights
  • If the building starts to break up, shelter in the strongest part (cellar, internal room, hallway or built-in wardrobe) under a mattress, doona or a strong table or bench
  • If outdoors, seek solid enclosed shelter
  • If driving, stop clear of trees, power lines and streams
  • Don’t use a fixed telephone during a severe storm due to lightning danger

After a severe storm has hit

  • Listen to your local radio station for official advices and warnings
  • Check for structural property damage and cover with plastic sheeting and nailed on wood strips
  • For emergency assistance, contact the State Emergency Service (SES) phone 132 500 (24 hours).
  • Beware of fallen powerlines and trees, damaged buildings and flooded watercourses
  • Don’t go sight-seeing