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September 28, 2023

Community urged to be prepared ahead of storm season

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The NSW State Emergency Service (NSW SES) is urging residents to be prepared and have a plan in place, ahead of the 2023-24 storm season.

While this year’s weather forecast is set to bring dry and hot conditions, the threat of increased storm activity remains.

Fig tree down at Orana Rd Ocean Shores back in 2020. Image: Jeff Dawson

Key storm preparation measures include: cleaning gutters, downpipes and drains, securing and putting away any loose items around the backyard and balcony, and trimming trees and branches that could fall onto the home.

Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib said community preparation was key.

‘While this year’s warmer months are expected to be vastly different to what we’ve experienced in recent years, we are still moving in to peak storm season across the state,’ Mr Dib said.

‘It is important to know the storm risk, have a plan in place, get your home ready, be aware of what you will do if disaster strikes, and look out for one another.

‘I would like to thank the NSW SES in advance for everything they will do for the communities across NSW during the upcoming storm season.’

NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York APM said now was not the time for communities to be complacent.

‘Throughout storm seasons severe weather, such as flooding due to isolated heavy rainfall, strong wind events and damaging hail, can all have significant impacts on communities,’ Commissioner York said.

‘Last storm season our volunteers responded to more than 14,000 storm-related jobs throughout NSW. We are urging the community to get prepared by undertaking some simple activities around the house.

‘Clean your gutters, downpipes and drains, secure and put away any loose items around your backyard and balcony, and trim trees and branches that could fall onto your home.’

Bureau of Meteorology senior climatologist Hugh McDowell said the long-range forecast showed that NSW could expect much less rainfall than last year and lower than median rainfall through Spring.

‘There is also a very high chance of daytime maximum and overnight minimum temperatures being higher than usual,’ Mr McDowell said.

‘Spring rainfall is likely to be suppressed across NSW by a developing El Nino and Positive Indian Ocean Dipole.

‘Whilst these two climate drivers can reduce overall rainfall, their influence on severe storms is less pronounced. We can expect the number of severe storms to be close to historical averages this year.’

Spring is the peak time for severe thunderstorms along Australia’s east coast. East Coast Lows can also bring storms in early spring, increasing the risk of hail, damaging winds and flash flooding.

Mr McDowell said the overall flood risk has been assessed as close to average.

‘Whilst the Spring outlook is drier and warming, severe storms can bring significant rainfall in short periods, so flood risks remain for some catchments,’ he said.

For more information on how to get ready ahead of this year’s storm season, visit www.ses.nsw.gov.au/getready

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