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Be ready to weather storm season

Posted: 3pm 29 Sep 2021

THE Moreton Bay Region could be set for its first storm of the season, with the Bureau of Meteorology forecast showing showers and a possible storm for the next two days.

It comes ahead of predictions of above average rainfall from October to December.

The bureau’s head of operational climate services, Dr Andrew Watkins, says the eastern states of Australia are also likely to experience cooler days and warmer nights.

Andrew says predictions for a wetter and warmer spring follow a particularly wet and warm winter.

Bureau modelling predicts a 60 percent chance of exceeding the median rainfall across Brisbane and a 74 percent chance of Redcliffe receiving more than 300mm of rain, slightly above the October-December median of 291mm.

Andrew says the main reason behind the Bureau's prediction is a climate driver called the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD).

"We've currently got a negative IOD - a phenomenon which typically brings an increased chance of rainfall to southern and eastern Australia," he says.

“The main area we’re watching at the moment is south-eastern Australia, where we have wet soils, high rivers and full catchments and if we get further rain in those areas as forecast, we could see some localised flooding, or even more widespread flooding.”

North Pine Dam is at 62.2 percent capacity – although it is operating at reduced capacity while improvement work is carried out. Lake Kurwongbah is at 95.8 percent capacity.

Preparation the key

Moreton Bay Region State Emergency Service Acting Controller Trevor Smith says preparation is one of the best ways to weather the coming storm season.

Trevor says basic home maintenance will give residents the best chance of minimising damage to their properties.

Many of the calls the region’s seven operational groups receive in the wake of storms relate to damage caused by blocked gutters and poorly maintained roofs, Trevor says.

“Now’s the time to clean your gutters, flush out downpipes so rain can flow through and check that drains are clear of leaves.”

He says clearing rubbish will also minimise damage caused by flying debris in gusty conditions.

“Consider installing gutter guard so the leaves can’t build up.

“It’s also worth checking for cracked tiles on the roof and replacing them now, while it’s still reasonably dry.”

Be a good neighbour

Trevor urges people to check on elderly neighbours to ensure their properties are ready for storm season too – and to check in again once a storm has passed.

“If you have the resources and knowledge to help yourselves, check on your neighbours as well.”

“You can call us if you need assistance (after a storm) and you can’t help yourself – we can provide temporary repairs.”

Trevor says other key components of preparing for storm season include creating an emergency kit and an evacuation kit.

“Both kits should have batteries, torches, non-perishable food, medications, water and any important paperwork sealed in plastic bags.

“If you have to leave the house for a couple of days, you’ll need power banks and phone chargers too, as well as clothing, blankets and pillows.”

With about 320 SES volunteers across the region, Trevor says they are always keen to have members join.

“There are jobs for everybody but we have a shortage of people who are capable of going out into the field to do the sort of work we need them to do,” he says.

Trevor says SES volunteers in the Moreton Bay Region focus on repairing storm damage, flood mitigation and chainsaw operation, but also assisted with search and rescue and major events.

Be prepared

  • Make an emergency kit, including battery operated radio, torch and spare batteries
  • Keep emergency numbers handy
  • Clear downpipes and guttering
  • Store poisons above ground level in case of flash flooding
  • Monitor local media for warnings and updates

During a storm

  • Stay inside and shelter away from windows
  • Monitor local media for storm updates
  • If outdoors, find safe shelter
  • Don't shelter under trees or metal structures
  • Ensure pets are safe

After a storm

  • Check property for damage
  • Beware of fallen power lines
  • Check trees for damage and stability
  • Monitor local media for further weather information
  • Check neighbours if it's safe

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