The lead agency for response to storms is the NSW SES
What to expect from storms
Storms in New South Wales cause greater losses to local communities than any other single hazard.
Storms can happen anywhere at any time of the year and be any combination of strong winds, heavy rain, hail and lightning.
As a result, storms can pose a significant safety risk to people and animals. Potential hazards include flying debris, falling trees, large hailstones, lightning strikes and fast-moving floodwaters.
Severe storms can remove roofs from buildings, break windows, damage vehicles, bring down powerlines disrupting electricity supply and cause flash flooding. Storms may also restrict people or vehicles from moving around safely during and after the event.
You can help reduce the risk to you and your property from storms.
Have a plan
Put your plan together using the SES Emergency Plans template. Share it with family, friends and neighbours, and review it annually or after a severe storm.
Your Emergency Plan should answer all of these questions and more, take the time to sit and write it down. Do you:
- Know what you would do to protect your property?
- Know where all your important documents are? Insurance, passports etc.
- Know where you will go if your property is damaged?
- Know what you will take to keep you safe and warm?
- Know what you will do with your animals?
- Have neighbours, friends or family who may require assistance? Others may have trouble moving during a storm event due to mobility constraints, location or other issues. Consider how you can help others be prepared for a storm event.
- Know who to call to get help?
Prepare your property
Make sure your home is safe and ready. Check fences, roofs, and gutters and make any needed repairs. Trim branches near your home and near powerlines. Clean gutters and downpipes regularly, and secure loose any loose items such as trampolines, roof tiles/sheets.
Check your insurance. Do you have adequate cover for home and contents?
When a storm warning is issued:
- Secure and put away loose items from around your property, including outdoor furniture and pot plants.
- Move vehicles under cover and away from trees.
- Create a safe place for your pets.
- Disconnect all electrical items.
Contact neighbours and family members to ensure they're safe and prepared.
During a storm
Stay clear of creeks, drains, causeways, gutters, streams, fallen trees, powerlines and damaged buildings. In severe storm conditions remain indoors and stay clear of windows.
During an electrical storm (lightning) do not use landline telephones, disconnect computers, televisions and other electrical appliances and secure pets in a safe place. If you're caught outdoors during an electrical storm:
- Seek shelter in a hard-top vehicle or solid building.
- Never shelter under a tree or group of trees.
- If far from shelter, crouch down, don't lie flat.
- If boating or swimming, leave the water immediately.
- If you are driving, turn on your headlights and hazard lights, slow down and be aware of hazards on the road such as fallen powerlines and trees.
- In severe driving conditions pull over to the side of the road keeping clear of drains, causeways, streams, creeks, trees and powerlines, and turn on your headlights and hazard lights. If possible, seek shelter in your vehicle under a bridge, overpass or other large structure.
- Never drive, ride or walk through floodwater.
- For emergency assistance in storms and floods, call the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500.
- In the case of a life-threatening emergency call 000.
- If you have information that could help others during a storm, contact your local ABC radio station and tell them what you can see – reliable first-hand knowledge can help other people in the community.
After a storm
Tune into ABC Radio 702AM and listen for storm warnings and advice. Monitor Bureau of Meteorology weather alerts. These agencies monitor conditions and will issue warnings about any further storm activity.
There are some simple things you can do after a storm:
- Check your house or property for damage and if you need help call the SES on 132 500.
- Stay clear of creeks, drains, causeways, gutters, streams, fallen trees and powerlines, and any damaged buildings.
- Do not go sightseeing as you may hamper the efforts of emergency services.
- Check to see if your neighbours and family members need help, particularly more vulnerable community members.
- Review your personal emergency plan and update it with what you learnt from the previous storm event.
Further information about storms
The NSW SES website can help you develop a personal/home emergency plan and emergency kits:
The NSW government's state storm plan details how emergency information is provided to agencies and service providers responsible for helping the community, particularly vulnerable community members, during storm events.