Storms can happen anywhere, any time. Make sure you know the risks and understand the importance of preparing for storms.

What are storms?

Storms are the most common natural hazard in Australia and can occur at any time of year. Storms range in severity and can pass through fairly harmlessly or pose a significant threat to the community.

Severe storms can impact communities with damaging wind, large hail, tornadoes and heavy rain that can cause flash flooding.

Watch this Bureau of Meteorology 4.27 minute video to learn about severe thunderstorms.

When a storm is forecast

Dangers of storms

Severe storms can be extremely dangerous and cause destruction to the environment and nearby infrastructure. They can even cause injury or loss of life.

Damaging winds, flash flooding, lightning and hail cause damage to homes, cars, roads and vegetation, as well as disrupting essential services like electricity, water and gas.

Information included in storm warnings is designed to keep the community safe from the dangers of storm. While some people may think that closing curtains and staying away from windows is being overly cautious, these are actions that could save you or your family serious harm.

Did you know? The severe storm that hit Perth in March 2010 resulted in widespread damage to houses, cars and roads. The State Emergency Service received almost 2,000 calls for assistance and in the storm’s aftermath, several schools temporarily closed and elective surgery was cancelled for the day.

Know your risk

While storms can happen at any time of the year, in Western Australia’s south west land division (south of Geraldton) they occur more frequently between May and October. For the Pilbara and Kimberley regions they are most likely between November and April.

People who take action to get prepared for a severe storm before it happens are more likely to keep themselves, their families, their pets and their property safe. Find out how to prepare for a storm.

Storm alerts and warnings

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

Once BoM issues a Severe Weather or Severe Thunderstorm Warning, DFES will provide alerts and warnings on Emergency WA.

There are four warning levels that align with the expected timing of storms.

Prepare: Severe weather is more than 24 hours away. You need to start preparing for the storm.
Get ready: Severe weather is six to 24 hours away. You need to prepare now for the storm.
Take action: Severe weather is less than six hours away. Stay indoors and unplug electrical items if there is lightning.
Cancellation: The severe weather has passed. Proceed with caution as dangers such as fallen trees and powerlines may be present.

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 there may not be reliable telecommunications in remote areas during emergencies.

Radio is a reliable source of information during telecommunications outages, so ensure you have a battery-operated AM/FM radio in your emergency kit.

More Information

Prepare for a storm

Getting yourself and your household storm ready is your responsibility.

Learn more

During a storm

Find out what to expect during a severe storm and actions you can take to stay safe.

Learn more

Recovering from a storm

Find out what to expect after a storm and what action you can take to recover.

Learn more