A thunderstorm, also known as an electrical storm, is characterized by the presence of lightning and its acoustic effect on the Earth’s atmosphere, known as thunder. They are usually accompanied by  strong winds and heavy rain.

A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued when thunderstorms are expected to produce wind gusts of at least 90 kilometres per hour, tornadoes, lightning, large hail with a diameter of at least 2 centimeters or very heavy rain that leads to flash flooding.

The location of severe thunderstorms is difficult to accurately predict well in advance. As a result, Severe Thunderstorm Warnings will generally have a lead time of no more than an hour.

Before a Severe Thunderstorm

  • Check our website, the Burdekin Shire Council Disaster Coordination Centre Facebook page and the Bureau of Meteorology website for information:
  • Clean up the yard. Clear away all loose material.
  • Hold a family meeting to prepare your household Emergency Plan so everyone knows what to do, where to meet and how to get out.
  • Identify how and where to turn off the mains supply for water, power and gas.
  • Disconnect electrical items.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed so food will stay cool without power for several hours.
  • Shelter and secure pets.
  • Move outdoor equipment, garbage, chemicals and poisons to a higher location.
  • Check neighbours, especially if elderly or recent arrivals.


  • Put vehicles under cover or cover with firmly tied tarps and blankets.
  • Beware of fallen trees and power lines.


  • Keep away from creeks and drains as you may be swept away.
  • Do not enter floodwaters – if it’s flooded forget it.

During a Severe Thunderstorm

  • Tune into your local radio station and heed warnings and advice.
  • Move indoors away from windows.
  • If driving, stop clear of trees, powerlines and streams.
  • Avoid using the telephone.

After a Severe Thunderstorm

  • Tune into your local radio station and heed warnings and advice.
  • Don’t use electric appliances if wet.
  • Beware of damaged power lines, bridges and trees.
  • Do not enter flood waters – 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.
  • Check whether electricity, gas or water supplies have been affected.
  • Wear rubber boots or rubber-soled shoes and rubber or leather gloves.
  • Watch for damaged flooring, walls and ceilings as well as unexpected visitors such as snakes.
  • Treat all items exposed to floodwater as contaminated. Dispose of rubbish, wash mud, dirt and debris as soon as you can.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after handling anything that has been in contact with floodwater.
  • Follow any instructions for treating water and discard any food exposed to floodwater.

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