November to April is the wet season in Western Australia’s north-west bringing with it the risk of tropical cyclones.
Exmouth to Broome has the highest incidence of cyclones anywhere in Australia. Later in the season areas at risk extend further south along the coast
Severe tropical cyclones can cause widespread damage, injury and loss of life. If you plan to travel during the cyclone season, then you need to plan ahead.
Before you leave
- Become familiar with the cyclone warning systems
- Understand what community alerts mean
- Access www.bom.gov.au to monitor cyclone activity in the region and weather conditions
- Check www.mainroads.gov.au for road closures
- Stay tuned into local ABC radio for updates
Warning systems and community alerts
When a cyclone is approaching, The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) issues cyclone advice to the public.
Fire and Emergency Services Authority (DFES) then issues community alerts throughout the media to help keep you safe.
The Bureau uses two levels of cyclone advice:
- Issued every six hours when damaging winds or gales are expected to affect communities within 48 hours.
- Issued every three hours when damaging winds or gales are likely to affect communities within 24 hours.
You can find community alert information:
- On ABC radio and other local media
- Online via DFES's Alerts and Warnings page
- Recorded on DFES’s public information telephone line 13 DFES (13 3337)
There are four stages of community alerts, as described below:
- Listen carefully and do what the warnings say to keep safe
- Continue listening to local radio for updates
1. Blue Alert
- The cyclone may produce strong winds within 48 hours.
- Be ready to change your travel plans.
Things to do on Blue Alert:
- Buy enough canned or dry food and bottled water to last four days
- Buy a first aid kit, torch and batteries
- Make sure you have a battery–powered radio
- If you have a caravan, boat or trailer, make sure you have tie-down materials
- Put fuel in your vehicle
2. Yellow Alert
- There is a high risk of destructive winds in your area. It is time to take action.
Things to do on Yellow Alert:
- Pack your belongings
- Get cash money. ATMs and banking services may break down during the cyclone
- Find a safe place to shelter. This could be a motel or a welfare centre but do not stay in your caravan
- Call the State Emergency Service (SES) in your area to find the location of the nearest welfare centre
- If you are in a low area near the coast, move to higher ground, storm surge from cyclones can flood low areas
- Tie down your caravan, boat, trailer and LPG gas bottles
- Call your family and let them know where you are
- Listen to authorities. If they tell you to move to a safer place, do so
3. Red Alert
- Destructive winds are likely to occur very soon. You could be inside for many hours. It may be very noisy and dark.
- Electricity and other services may be interrupted. Shops will be closed
Things to do on Red Alert:
- If you are not already in a safe place go now to a welfare centre
- Park your vehicle in a sheltered area (in gear or shift in P with the handbrake on)
- Stay in the strongest part of the building away from windows
4. All Clear
The cyclone danger has passed but you need to take care to avoid the dangers caused by damage.
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