November to April is tropical cyclone season in our North West. Your safety is your responsibility. Follow the advice below to get prepared, stay informed and keep safe during tropical cyclone season.

Tropical cyclones can impact the north west coast from November to April. Other areas like the Midwest-Gascoyne and Goldfields-Midlands often experience flooding as a cyclone moves south.

Cyclones can be severe and cross the WA coast every year with destructive winds, torrential rainfall, flooding, dangerous storm surge and heavy swells.

Your safety is your responsibility. Be the calm before the storm and follow the advice below to get prepared, stay informed and keep safe during the cyclone season.

What are tropical cyclones?

Tropical cyclones are low-pressure systems that form over warm tropical waters.

A tropical low becomes a cyclone when there are wind gusts of more than 90km/h around its centre. When the wind gusts reach 165km/h, it’s categorised as a severe tropical cyclone.

Once formed, tropical cyclones can continue for many days, even weeks, and may follow quite erratic paths.

Dangers of tropical cyclones

Tropical cyclones are frightening! They can cause death, injury, major structural damage and disruption to essential supplies like electricity, water and gas.

Destructive winds, torrential rain and storm surge can cause flooding and extensive damage to buildings and outdoor structures (especially those poorly maintained or located in exposed locations).

The most intense or destructive weather occurs at the centre, or eye of cyclones. In these conditions, small objects become deadly missiles and can make being outside dangerous.

During cyclones, being outside can be deadly. This includes driving a vehicle or being in a boat.

Cyclones can intensify rapidly. Stay safe by having a cyclone plan, a safe place to shelter, supplies and  know how to stay informed.

Did you know? WA is noted for the fastest wind gust recorded on the planet to date! A 408 km/ h gust was recorded in 1996 during the coastal impact of Severe Tropical Cyclone Olivia, near Barrow Island in the Pilbara.

Know your risk

In WA tropical cyclone season occurs between November and April. However, tropical cyclones can occur outside of these months.

There is an average of five cyclones each tropical cyclone season. One or two may cross the coast as a severe tropical cyclone.

The coastline between Broome and Exmouth is the most cyclone-prone region in Australia. The area between Whim Creek and Mardie is most at risk.

Cyclones don’t only impact coastal towns - they can also bring dangerous wind and flooding to inland communities.

Sometimes a cyclone (or less intense tropical low) will travel south, bringing dangerous winds and rain to communities as far as Perth.

Cyclone alerts and warnings

DFES and the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) work together to inform the community when there is a cyclone risk.

Once BoM issue a Tropical Cyclone Watch or Warning, DFES will provide warnings and advice on Emergency WA.

Blue Alert: Get ready for a cyclone
Yellow Alert: Act now to stay safe
Red Alert: Shelter now
All Clear: Be careful.

Travelling during tropical cyclone season

Travelling and camping in areas that may be impacted by a tropical cyclone is very dangerous. If you are travelling during cyclone season always stay up to date with weather forecasts and warnings.

Make sure someone knows your travel plans, including when you will be travelling between destinations. Let them know when you have arrived safely.

Camping, hiking and biking
Caravans, campers and motor homes
Short stay accommodation

Give way to emergency vehicles

If you encounter an emergency vehicle while driving:

  • Stay calm and check where the emergency vehicle is coming from.
  • Give way by merging left if it is safe to do so.
  • If you cannot move left safely you should slow down or stop and let the emergency vehicle overtake you.
  • Do not speed up or try to outrun the vehicle as this is dangerous.
  • Remember, you cannot break the law to give way to an emergency vehicle, for example, driving through a red light.

Remember: It is an offense not to give way to an emergency vehicle. The penalty is a fine and loss of demerit points. For more information, please refer to the Road safety Commission website.

How to stay informed

It’s important you know how to access different information sources to stay up to date because power and communications are likely to be lost during a cyclone.

Radio tends to be a reliable source of information during outages, so ensure you have a battery-operated radio.

More Information

Cyclone Publications

View and download cyclone manuals, guides and publications.

Learn more

Prepare for a cyclone

Find out how to prepare your family, home, pets and animals for tropical cyclone season.

Learn more

During a cyclone

Find out what steps to take when a cyclone threatens your community.

Learn more

Recovering from a cyclone

Find out what to expect during a cyclone and actions you can take to stay safe until the All Clear has been given.

Learn more