The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) is warning people in the north west of Western Australia to ensure their families and properties are ready in case a tropical cyclone occurs this festive season.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has forecast for 2012-13 a likelihood of around two coastal cyclone crossings, including a significant risk of at least one severe impact during the season.
BoM Regional Manager of Severe Weather Services Andrew Burton said the start of the cyclone season typically occurs during the Christmas and New Year period.
“This time of year brings with it an increased risk of a tropical cyclone affecting north west communities,” Mr Burton said.
“Tropical cyclones can produce extremely strong winds, flooding rains and storm surge which may result in significant damage to communities as well as isolation.
“The festive season is typically when we see the first tropical cyclone near the coast, so it’s important that residents in the north west are prepared before Christmas.”
DFES Chief Superintendent Robert Cox said now was the best time for people to get their homes prepared to withstand destructive weather.
“Many people leave their homes to go on holiday over the Christmas and New Year break,” Mr Cox said.
“If you are planning on going away you need to make sure you have made the necessary preparations in the event of a cyclone crossing the coast while you are not home.
“With school holidays now underway, residents should take proactive steps to clean up around their homes, particularly if they are planning on leaving for an extended period of time.”
Mr Cox said the north west had already experienced heavy rainfall and that residents and travellers must put preparations in place to ensure they were ready for a potential coastal crossing.
“We have already seen flooding this season in the Pilbara region along the De Grey River catchment with Tumbinna Pool, Oakover River and Nullagine River recording minor flood levels,” Mr Cox said.
“I urge everyone in a cyclone or flood prone area to keep up to date with the latest information and if you decide to leave before the severe weather hits, give yourself plenty of time to get to a safer place.
“We want everyone to enjoy a safe and relaxing festive season.”
For helpful tips to stay safe, you can find a Cyclone Smart or Flood Smart kit at your local SES unit or for more information visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au
DFES’s State Emergency Service (SES) has these tips for people preparing their homes:
• Trim tree branches and dispose of debris
• Secure outdoor furniture and loose material that could be blown around by extreme winds
• Put cyclone shutters or screens in place to protect windows and external doors
• Place boats, caravans and vehicles in sheds or secure them with correct cyclone tie down procedures
• Check your emergency kit is complete and includes a first aid kit, torch, battery operated portable radio, spare batteries, water bottles, non-perishable food, a portable cooking devices and special needs for pets
• Prepare a plan for your family on what to do if a cyclone approaches.
Media Contact: DFES Media and Public Affairs on 9225 5955