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Media Release

Know Your Weather. Know Your Risk. Wet season fast approaching.
Monday 14 October 2019 – 7:30 AM

​The Bureau of Meteorology has today issued its Tropical Cyclone Outlook for the 2019-20 season.

Computer models suggest that this season will see a below average number of tropical cyclones, but this is not a signal that residents in the region should be complacent, as it only takes one tropical system to significantly impact a community. The number of cyclones also doesn’t indicate just how extensive rainfall can be across northern WA.

The Bureau of Meteorology's Acting State Manager for Western Australia, Mr James Ashley urged residents in northern WA to prepare now and remain vigilant throughout the season.

"Last season we saw a below average number of Tropical Cyclones with just three cyclones in the WA Region, and yet Severe Tropical Cyclone Veronica was a clear example that it only takes one system to significantly affect communities, as it produced significant impacts for the central Pilbara with its destructive winds, very heavy rainfall, a storm surge along the coast and flooding through large parts of the central Pilbara" he said.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services Assistant Commissioner Country Paul Ryan said although northern WA regularly experienced cyclones and flooding, there was no room for complacency for residents or travelers.

“People often underestimate the impact of a cyclone or flood. Last year in the Pilbara, major roads were closed, businesses shut down, and people had to leave their homes because of the impacts of Tropical Cyclone Veronica,” Assistant Commissioner Ryan said.

“A key lesson from Tropical Cyclone Veronica was that people need to prepare early – don’t leave it to the last minute, as you cannot rely on there being surplus food, water and other essential items available.

“Keeping safe is as simple as cleaning up and removing loose items from around your home, preparing an emergency kit, including stocking drinking water and nonperishable foods for up to five days, and paying attention to community warnings.

“People who live near the coast also need to be aware of storm surges – this is when cyclones cause the sea water level to rise and flood nearby areas. At high tide, the surge can be powerful enough to knock down buildings, run ships aground and wash away roads.

“The consequences could be deadly - residents near the coast need to have an evacuation plan.”

Summary of the Tropical Cyclone Seasonal Outlook for Western Australia:

• ~40% chance of an above average number of tropical cyclones in waters off the northwest coast (average number five).

• Likelihood of around two coastal impacts.

• Significant risk of at least one severe tropical cyclone coastal impact during the season.

More information:

• Tropical cyclone warnings and information: http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/

• National Tropical Cyclone Outlook: http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/cyclones/australia/

• WA rainfall and river conditions: www.bom.gov.au/wa/flood/

• Alerts and Warnings: https://www.emergency.wa.gov.au/

• Visit the DFES website for more information on preparing for cyclones and floods: www.dfes.wa.gov.au/safetyinformation/cyclone/Pages/publications.aspx

MEDIA CONTACT

Neil Bennett | Media and Communication Manager WA

Phone: +61 8 9263 2279 / 0417 099 927 | Email: neil.bennett@bom.gov.au

 

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