Severe storms can bring heavy rain, strong wind, hail, thunder and lightning. They can cause major property damage, injury and loss of life.
The State Emergency Service (SES) is the primary provider of storm response across the state. During and after a storm the SES will:
- secure and cover damaged buildings
- remove trees and branches that have fallen on houses, cars, sheds and across roads and driveways.
Prepare for a storm
You can prepare your home and reduce potential damage with these few simple steps:
Make an emergency plan.
Have an emergency kit. Your kit should include a wind-up or battery operated radio, torch and spare batteries.
Know your emergency radio frequencies.
Keep a list of emergency numbers handy.
Download and use the Red Cross Get Prepared app.
Check that you have adequate insurance cover for your building, contents and vehicle.
Learn how and where to turn off the gas, electricity and water supplies.
Arrange for a licensed electrician to give advice on surge protectors and lightning conductors.
Regularly trim branches near your home and powerlines.
Inspect roofs, gutters and downpipes and:
- remove leaf litter and rubbish
- secure loose roof tiles or metal sheets
- make repairs.
Keep your yard and outdoor entertaining area free from clutter. Put away or secure loose items such as outdoor furniture, garden tools and children's play equipment before a storm.
Store poisons above ground level in case of flash floods.
Put vehicles in carports or garages. If there isn't shelter, place a car cover or blanket over the vehicle and park away from trees.
Don't camp near waterways due to potential flash flooding and swollen creeks.
During a storm
Be aware of the conditions:
- Listen to your local ABC radio station
- Check the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) website for severe weather warnings or download the app
- Look at the SES website for storm incidents
- Check SA Police for road closures
- Check out the transport department's outback road closures and warnings.
If a storm warning is issued, stay inside and keep away from windows and skylights.
Unplug electrical appliances that may be affected by power surges. If power is lost, unplug major appliances to reduce the power surge and possible damage when power is restored. Avoid using fixed-line telephones if there is lightning.
Place poisons and chemicals on high shelves to reduce the risk of contamination in floodwaters if the container is damaged.
Make sure your pets are safe.
If extremely high winds are expected
- Shelter in the strongest part of the building such as a cellar, internal room, hallway or under a strong table.
- Tape or cover large windows.
If you are outdoors during lightning strikes
If thunder happens within 30 seconds of lightning, then the storm is within 10 kilometres of your location and you'll need to follow these safety precautions.
- Stay away from metal poles, fences and clothes-lines.
- Never ride horses or bikes, or drive in open vehicles.
- If driving, slow down or park away from trees and powerlines.
- Stay inside hard top vehicles or metal caravans but don't touch any metal sections.
- If undertaking water activities leave the water immediately.
- If boating, go ashore to shelter or shelter under a bridge or jetty.
If shelter is nearby
- Seek shelter in a hard top vehicle or a solid building.
- Avoid small structures or fabric tents.
- Keep clear of windows.
If shelter isn't available
- Crouch or squat:
- with knees drawn up and feet together
- preferably in a hollow in the ground
- keep hands off the ground
- make yourself a small target
- don't lie down
- if in a group, spread out 10 metres apart.
- Remove metal objects.
- If your hair stands on end or if you hear buzzing nearby, move immediately.
- Stay away from hilltops, ridges and gullies, rock overhangs and shallow caves.
- Keep well away from water.
- Don't shelter under trees.
Apply immediate CPR to lightning-strike victims until medical assistance arrives. You won't receive an electric shock from the victim.
For further information refer to the St John Ambulance CPR fact sheet.
If you are in a vehicle during a storm
- Don't drive through floodwater.
- Slow down and turn headlights on.
- Be alert and watch for hazards on the road such as fallen powerlines and trees.
- Avoid dirt roads as surfaces will slippery and muddy.
- Turn on your car radio to your local ABC radio station, and listen for emergency updates.
If you experience water leaking through your ceiling, windows or doors
- Turn off power in the affected area.
- Remove or cover furniture.
- Use bins, buckets or saucepans to collect dripping water.
- Divert water using towels, mops and tarpaulins.
During dust storms:
- if visibility is reduced, take extra precautions when driving, such as, turning your headlights on, allow safe braking distances, and drive to conditions
- if you have pre-existing medical conditions stay indoors with the windows and doors closed, and don't exercise.
After a storm
Keep listening to your local radio for information and advice.
Check on your neighbours, if safe to do so.
Stay away from:
- flooded creeks and drains
- fallen trees and powerlines
- damaged structures.
If you suspect that electrical or gas appliances were damaged by rain or power surges, don't use them until they have been professionally tested.
On this site
- Pets and animals in a storm - SES NSW