Cy­clone sea­son on its way

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr and Bran­wen Smith

Cy­clone sea­son is com­ing and the Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy is fore­cast­ing about two coastal im­pacts, at least one se­vere, in the North West this sea­son.

While the out­look is be­low av­er­age, BoM WA re­gional man­ager of se­vere weather Bradley San­tos said all it takes is one di­rect hit to dev­as­tate a com­mu­nity.

Most of the Pil­bara es­caped the full fury of cy­clones Ol­wyn and Quang ear­lier this year, but Ex­mouth and the Gas­coyne re­gion were hit hard.

Shire of Ex­mouth com­pli­ance and emer­gency ser­vices co-or­di­na­tor David Ge­orge urged res­i­dents not to be com­pla­cent.

“Ol­wyn was meant to be a cat­e­gory 3, but was ac­tu­ally a cat­e­gory 4, and Quang was com­pletely un­pre­dictable,” he said.

“We could get the same again or we could get worse.

“It’s about treat­ing ev­ery cy­clone like it’s go­ing to be the big one and not leav­ing prepa­ra­tion un­til the last minute.”

The Depart­ment of Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices and BoM will be hold­ing meet­ings across the re­gion from this week, in­clud­ing in Ex­mouth on Oc­to­ber 21.

DFES Pil­bara su­per­in­ten­dent John New­man said State Emer­gency Ser­vice crews in the re­gion had ad­e­quate num­bers but could do with beef­ing up.

“We have very good num­bers, par­tic­u­larly out of ma­jor re­gional towns, and they will aug­ment num­bers in small com­mu­ni­ties where needed,” he said.

“Once im­pact has oc­curred, the SES will un­der­take ini­tial dam­age as­sess­ment, tem­po­rary dam­age re­pairs, en­sure haz­ardous veg­e­ta­tion is safe and un­der­take sand­bag­ging if needed.

“The SES is not re­spon­si­ble for clean­ing up peo­ple’s prop­er­ties … it is the res­i­dents’ re­spon­si­bil­ity to clean their prop­er­ties up promptly.”

Mr New­man said lo­cal gov­ern­ments were over­whelm­ingly com­pli­men­tary about the re­sponse to Ol­wyn and Quang last sea­son.

Pre-cy­clone sea­son cleanups and ed­u­ca­tion cam­paigns are be­ing or­gan­ised by lo­cal gov­ern­ments across the North West.

City of Kar­ratha Mayor Peter Long said free gar­den waste col­lec­tions in residential ar­eas were be­ing un­der­taken to help res­i­dents be cy­clone pre­pared.

“City rangers and emer­gency man­age­ment of­fi­cers have been con­duct­ing pre-cy­clone sea­son in­spec­tions of prop­er­ties and are work­ing with home own­ers and res­i­dents to en­sure the ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tions are put in place prior to the sea­son com­menc­ing,” he said.

“Res­i­dents are also en­cour­aged to pre­pare emer­gency kits be­fore the sea­son starts and en­sure they have emer­gency plans in place for their house and busi­ness — it is im­por­tant that fam­ily and staff un­der­stand what to do if a cy­clone hits.”

Gar­den waste col­lec­tions started this week and will con­tinue on a sub­urb-by-sub­urb ba­sis into early Novem­ber.

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