Cyclone season on its way
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.