Did you know that cyclones occur in Australia more frequently than you hear on the news? And that scientist have also tracked them on other planets? But it is the ones that cross our coast that are the most damaging – it’s these low-pressure systems that form over warm tropical waters with gale force winds persisting for at least six hours that can extend hundreds of kilometres from the cyclone centre.
If the sustained winds around the centre reach 118 kilometres per hour with gusts more than 165 kilometres per hour, then it becomes a severe tropical cyclone – better known elsewhere as a hurricane or typhoon. And it is especially important to be aware of the ‘calm’ eye – due to the least amount of air pressure in the eye, it produces clear weather with light wind, no clouds, no rain and some sunshine – but this only the middle of the storm. So, wait until the authorities declare it safe.
Australia’s official tropical cyclone season runs from 1 November to 30 April
Most occur between Exmouth and Broome in Western Australia and Port Douglas and Maryborough in Queensland. Your local council or building authority may be able to provide best practice guidelines for building wind resistance measures and ensuring an iron-clad structure but there are other things you can do right now to be more prepared if a cyclone hits.
If you live in a cyclone-prone area, consider making these steps a priority:
- Check your insurance cover
Importantly, make sure that the sum insured for your property includes any renovations and extensions you’ve completed. And ensure your contents sum insured amount covers all of your belongings – it’s too late once the cyclone is declared. Plus, it’s helpful to keep copies of important documents in waterproof packaging.
- Prepare a survival plan
This should include a storm readiness kit. Ensure that every householder knows what to do including identifying the strongest part of your property to shelter in and knowing where and how to turn off mains power, water and gas. Also, don’t forget a plan for pets too!
- Have your property cyclone ready during the season
This means check tree stability and remove any that are rotting, secure loose outdoor items, clear gutters, check the condition of your roof, and consider installing secure shutters to windows. Also, check for rust and termites – Australia’s cyclonic regions are areas of high termite risk – do you know how structurally sound your property is? It’s important to have regular termite inspections because once termites have gained access to timber, they excavate it internally concealing their presence.
Download our handy Cyclone checklist we prepared in partnership with our Insurance Provider CGU Insurance below to help you prepare for a Cyclone.
If you do experience cyclone damage, once it’s safe to do so, contact your insurer
Take photos and make sure to you talk to them prior to any building work, including emergency repairs as unauthorised work may not be covered by your policy. Stay away from storm-damaged areas and property until authorities declare it is safe to return as there can be challenges from downed power lines, flood waters and unsecure buildings and trees.
It's easy to check the value of your home – check out the CGU home and contents calculators and then contact your insurer to up your coverage if needed.
Insurance issued by Insurance Australia Limited ABN 11 000 016 722 (IAL) trading as CGU. Any advice is general only and doesn’t take into account your personal circumstances. Consider the relevant PDS available in branch to see if a product is right for you. Queensland Country Bank Limited ABN 77 087 651 027 AFSL 244533 acts under an agreement with IAL.