Tropical cyclones can impact the north west coast from November to April. Other areas like the Midwest-Gascoyne and Goldfields-Midlands often experience flooding as a cyclone moves south.
Cyclones can be severe and cross the WA coast every year with destructive winds, torrential rainfall, flooding, dangerous storm surge and heavy swells.
Your safety is your responsibility. Be the calm before the storm and follow the advice below to get prepared, stay informed and keep safe during the cyclone season.
Tropical cyclones are low-pressure systems that form over warm tropical waters.
A tropical low becomes a cyclone when there are wind gusts of more than 90km/h around its centre. When the wind gusts reach 165km/h, it’s categorised as a severe tropical cyclone.
Once formed, tropical cyclones can continue for many days, even weeks, and may follow quite erratic paths.
Tropical cyclones are frightening! They can cause death, injury, major structural damage and disruption to essential supplies like electricity, water and gas.
Destructive winds, torrential rain and storm surge can cause flooding and extensive damage to buildings and outdoor structures (especially those poorly maintained or located in exposed locations).
The most intense or destructive weather occurs at the centre, or eye of cyclones. In these conditions, small objects become deadly missiles and can make being outside dangerous.
During cyclones, being outside can be deadly. This includes driving a vehicle or being in a boat.
Cyclones can intensify rapidly. Stay safe by having a cyclone plan, a safe place to shelter, supplies and know how to stay informed.
Did you know? WA is noted for the fastest wind gust recorded on the planet to date! A 408 km/ h gust was recorded in 1996 during the coastal impact of Severe Tropical Cyclone Olivia, near Barrow Island in the Pilbara.
In WA tropical cyclone season occurs between November and April. However, tropical cyclones can occur outside of these months.
There is an average of five cyclones each tropical cyclone season. One or two may cross the coast as a severe tropical cyclone.
The coastline between Broome and Exmouth is the most cyclone-prone region in Australia. The area between Whim Creek and Mardie is most at risk.
Cyclones don’t only impact coastal towns - they can also bring dangerous wind and flooding to inland communities.
Sometimes a cyclone (or less intense tropical low) will travel south, bringing dangerous winds and rain to communities as far as Perth.
Travelling and camping in areas that may be impacted by a tropical cyclone is very dangerous. If you are travelling during cyclone season always stay up to date with weather forecasts and warnings.
Make sure someone knows your travel plans, including when you will be travelling between destinations. Let them know when you have arrived safely.
It’s important you know how to access different information sources to stay up to date because power and communications are likely to be lost during a cyclone.
Radio tends to be a reliable source of information during outages, so ensure you have a battery-operated radio.