A cyclone is a violent tropical storm with very strong winds and heavy rain that can cause extensive property damage and injuries to people. The eye or centre of the cyclone is an area made up of light winds and often clear skies. This is NOT the end of the cyclone as very destructive winds from the other direction will follow. Stay inside.

Cyclones are part of living in the north. Most cyclones occur between November and April but cyclones have occurred outside these months.

Before Cyclone Season

  • Check this website, the Burdekin Shire Council Disaster Coordination Centre Facebook page and the Bureau of Meteorology website for information:
  • Hold a family meeting to prepare your household Emergency Plan so everyone knows what to do, where to meet and how to get out.
  • Prepare your Emergency and Evacuation Kits.
  • Clean up the yard. Clear away all loose material as it could blow about and possibly cause injury or damage.
  • Trim trees and overhanging branches.
  • Identify how and where to turn off the mains supply for water, power and gas.
  • Keep your roof in good condition and check it regularly.
  • Remove debris from gutters.
  • Check and fix loose fittings, such as railings.
  • Check windows and install shutters if possible.
  • Tie down sheds or other small structures not permanently fixed. Secure caravans, boats and vehicles or tie them together or to strong structures.
  • Check to see if your home has been built to cyclone standards (generally houses constructed after 1982).
  • Know your Evacuation Zone (storm tide) and evacuation routes.
  • Check neighbours, especially if elderly or recent arrivals.
  • Monitor cyclone potential throughout the season:

www.bom.gov.au

Cyclone Warnings

CYCLONE ADVICE

A cyclone advice is a “warning” that advises the location of a cyclone, its movement and intensity, and identifies areas that could be affected. Our information comes from the Bureau of Meteorology.

When a cyclone advice is given, you should:

  • Finalise packing your Emergency Kit.
  • Hold a family meeting to make sure everyone knows your cyclone plan and whether you are staying to shelter in place or evacuating.

CYCLONE WATCH

A watch is issued 48 hours before the cyclone is predicted to cross the coast and is updated every six hours providing information on location, movement and intensity, and areas that could be affected.

When a cyclone watch is issued you should:

  • Decide if your family needs to evacuate, and where you will evacuate to. It’s usually best to shelter in place or evacuate to family and friends out of the cyclone warning area.
  • If sheltering in place, decide which room to shelter in. The best option is an internal room with few or small windows, such as the bathroom. Use mattresses and other bedding to protect yourself.
  • Re-check your property for any loose material and tie down (or fill with water as last resort) all large, relatively light items such as boats and rubbish bins.
  • Check your Emergency Kit and fill water containers and bath tub with clean drinking water.
  • Ensure household members know which is the strongest part of the house and what to do in the event of a cyclone or an evacuation.
  • Tune to your local radio/TV/internet for further information and warnings.
  • Check that neighbours are aware of the situation and are preparing.
  • Ensure your car and jerry cans are fully fuelled. Cyclones nearly always involve power failure which means petrol stations are unable to pump fuel unless they have an alternative power supply.

CYCLONE WARNING

A warning is issued if winds are expected to affect coastal or island areas within 24 hours. The warning is updated every three hours and then every hour if the cyclone poses a major threat.

The warning includes information on location, movement and intensity of the cyclone, areas that are threatened and anticipated rainfall, flooding and storm surge. If you haven’t done so already, a Cyclone Warning should be the trigger to activate your household Emergency Plan.

Depending on official advice provided by the Burdekin LDMG as the event develops the following actions may be warranted for a cyclone warning:

  • If requested by Burdekin LDMG, collect children from school or childcare centre and go home.
  • Park vehicles under solid shelter (hand brake on and in gear).
  • Put wooden or plastic outdoor furniture in your pool or inside with other loose items.
  • Close shutters, board up or heavily tape all windows (tape does not strengthen windows, but minimises the glass shatter if broken), draw curtains and lock doors.
  • Pack an Evacuation Kit to take with your Emergency Kit.
  • Depending on your location, Emergency Services may advise or direct you to leave.

During a Cyclone

  • Have a battery operated radio and tune into your local radio station and heed warnings and advice.
  • Remain indoors (with your pets).
  • Keep Emergency and Evacuation Kits with you.
  • Disconnect all electrical appliances.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed so food will stay cool without power for several hours.
  • Stay inside and shelter in the strongest part of the building keeping well clear of windows e.g. shelter in the cellar, internal hallway or bathroom.
  • If the building starts to break up, protect yourself with mattresses, rugs or blankets, under a strong table or bench or hold onto a solid fixture.
  • Beware of the calm “eye”. If the wind stops don’t assume the cyclone is over; violent winds will soon resume from another direction. Wait for the official “all clear”.
  • If driving, stop (handbrake on and in gear) – but well away from the sea and clear of trees and powerlines. Stay in the vehicle.

After a Cyclone

  • Have a battery operated radio and tune into your local radio station and heed warnings and advice.
  • Don’t go outside until officially advised it is safe.
  • Check for gas leaks and fallen power lines. Don’t use electric appliances if wet.
  • If you evacuated, don’t return until advised. Use a recommended route and don’t panic.
  • Be aware of damage to power lines, bridges, buildings and trees.
  • Do not enter floodwaters – if it’s flooded forget it.
  • Heed all warnings and don’t go sightseeing. Instead, check and offer help to neighbours, friends and family.
  • Don’t make unnecessary telephone calls.
  • Follow any instructions for treating water and discard any food exposed to floodwater.

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