Severe weather is a natural part of living in Queensland. St George has been known to experiences severe weather and it's important to take the time to prepare yourself.
Prepare a Storm emergency kit
Prepare an emergency kit with these suggested items:
- a portable battery operated radio and torch with fresh or spare batteries and bulb
- a list of radio station for emergency information
- candles with waterproof matches or a gas lantern
- reasonable stocks of fresh water and tinned or dried food
- a first aid kit and basic first aid knowledge
- good supplies of essential medication
- strong shoes and rubber gloves
- a waterproof bag for clothing and valuables – put valuables and certificates in the bag and put the bag in a safe place
- a list of your emergency contact numbers
- a car charger for your mobile phone
As the storm approaches
When a severe storm approaches, make sure you have your mobile phone close by, and it has a fully charged battery. Listen to a local radio station for information and disconnect all electrical appliances.
When the storm strikes
When a severe storm strikes, stay inside, keep away from windows and remain in the strongest part of the house which is usually the bathroom or cellar. If you are outdoors, find emergency shelter and do not stand under trees.
- listen to your portable radio for storm update
- if driving, stop clear of trees, powerlines and creeks
- avoid using the telephone during the storm
- Unplug any electronic equipment well before the storm arrives.
- Get inside a home, building
After the storm passes
after the storm has passed, listen to your local radio for official warnings and advice. If you need emergency assistance, phone
- 000 (triple zero) - for life threatening emergencies
- the State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500
- check your cabin for damage
- stay away from fallen powerlines.
- beware of damaged buildings, trees and flooded watercourses
- be available to help neighbors if required
Understanding flood warnings
BOM issues a number of different types of warnings before and during weather events which could result in flooding. Triggers to listen and watch out for include:
- flood warnings, severe weather and thunderstorm warnings, especially those mentioning the possibility of flash flooding
- prolonged heavy rain
- rising creeks and rivers, and localized pooling of water.
Where to access warning
Warnings are sent from BOM to media, Council, Department of Emergency Services and other agencies involved in managing severe weather and flood response activities. The list below identifies ways for you to access warning information.
- internet - Bureau of Meteorology website
- radio - tune into your local radio station
- television - watch out for televised weather updates
- BOMs weather service - online or by phone 1300 659 219 (local call charges apply)
Interpreting flood warnings
- Minor flooding - Causes inconvenience. Low-lying areas next to watercourses are inundated which may require the removal of stock and equipment. Minor roads may be closed and low-level bridges submerged.
- Moderate flooding - In addition to the above, the evacuation of some houses may be required. Main traffic routes may be cut by flood waters.
- Major flooding - In addition to the above, extensive areas are inundated. Properties and suburbs are likely to be isolated and major traffic routes likely to be closed. Evacuation of people from flood-affected areas may be required.
Risks during floods
Flood waters can be dangerous. Be aware of the following:
- Drowning - do no play in or near stormwater drains. During a flood, water moves quickly through drains that may be dry for most of the year.
- Currents - Don't walk or swim in flood waters. As little as 15 centimetres of moving water can knock you off your feet.
- Electrocution - Stay clear of fallen power lines and electrical wires. Electricity passes easily through water.
- Contamination - Wash your hands and feet with soap if you do come into contact with flood water. Sewage or chemicals can be found in flood water.
- Slipping - Tread carefully. Slippery surfaces can cause falls and injuries.
- Wildlife - Be aware that there may be displaced and stressed wildlife inside your home and yard. Wildlife lose their homes in flood too.
Driving and road safety
Roads often become flooded before water affects homes. It is important that you stay informed of local road conditions to prevent you and your family from becoming isolated.
Many drivers rescued from flood waters report that they were in a hurry to get home to safety as a reason for tempting the danger of driving into water. Regardless of the type of car and despite what car commercials show, driving into flood waters is dangerous considering:
- most flood-related deaths occur at night and involve cars driving on flooded roads
- creeks and rivers can rise very quickly and the road surface can also wash away making the water much deeper than it appears
- once cars are swept downstream they will often roll to one side or perhaps flip over entirely. The driver and occupants have little time to escape the vehicle
It is natural to want to stay and protect your home and valuables.
However, as flood waters rise, dangers increase and evacuation may be required.
Council works with may government and community groups to manage flood events as smoothly as possible. If you are asked to evacuate, do so immediately. You may consider finding safer temporary accommodation such as a friend or relative's house. If you are evacuating voluntarily, remember to tell a relative or neighbour or Friend where you are going.
Emergency shelters can change depending on where the water is.
Before you evacuate, remind your family or other household members of your central contact point in case you get separated. Make sure each household member has important phone numbers with them
Lightning is a powerful burst of electricity that happens very quickly during a thunderstorm.
- Lightning is caused by an electrical charge in the atmosphere that is unbalanced.
- The movement of rain and ice inside a thundercloud creates an electrical charge, with the negative charge (electrons) forming at the bottom of the cloud and the positive charge (protons) forming at the top.
- Opposites attract so the negative charge at the bottom of the cloud seeks out a positive charge to connect with.
- Lightning can occur inside clouds, between clouds and from clouds to the ground.
- Around one quarter of lightning is from cloud to ground.
- When lightning strikes the ground it seeks out the shortest route to something with a positive charge, this might be a tree, a tall building or if they’re very unlucky, a person.
- Thousands of people are struck by lightning every year.
- Direct lightning strikes are usually fatal.
- Lightning rods (also called conductors) are metal rods or similar objects that divert lightning safely to the ground, they can often be seen at the top of tall buildings.
- Most lightning occurs over land rather than oceans, with around 70% of it occurring in the Tropics.
- There are bolts of lightning striking somewhere on Earth every second.
- Lightning strikes usually last around 1 or 2 microseconds.
- Lightning contains millions of volts of electricity.
- Thunder is the sound caused by lightning.
- The average temperature of lightning is around 20000 °C (36000 °F).
- Lightning is usually produced by cumulonimbus clouds that are very tall and dense