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Severe Storms and Floods
Severe windstorms and thunderstorms can occur anywhere in Australia, and do so more than any other major natural emergency.
Severe storms occur at any time of the year and can cause flash flooding, landslip and lightning strikes, disrupt communities through the loss of income, injury, life, property damage, agricultural and stock losses, and cause disruption to major services such as electricity and water.
Some storms may be more localised, that is, they may occur in one area such as the northern area of the Shire, or they may be larger in scale and occur across the entire Shire.
Severe storms can cause trees and branches to fall across roads and railway lines, on people, cars, and buildings; flash floods can block roads and wash cars and people away; large hail can cause damage to cars and property; and lightning can strike people, buildings, trees and power lines.
There are a number of factors we recommend you consider when preparing for severe storms
Have a plan
Towong Shire Council has put together some important information that can help you learn more about what you can do to prepare your home for an emergency. Download your copy and find other valuable resources here
Severe storms are challenging to predict, so it is unlikely that you will receive warnings in time to prepare appropriately. It is therefore better to ensure you are prepared ahead of time, for example, having an emergency kit ready at all times will ensure you and your family have supplies in case a severe storm causes disruption to your power, or access to and from your property.
Be aware that severe storms use up many local resources, and the best thing for you and your family, is to be responsible for your safety. While the SES will eventually attend to your requests, there will be many people all requiring assistance also. If you are well prepared for severe storms, you will feel less stressed.
You cannot prevent a storm occurring; however, there are things you can do to reduce the impact of a severe storm on you and your family.
- Make sure your property is generally tidy, for example, don’t leave gardening tools outside after use, clean guttering and downpipes frequently, ensure tree branches are trimmed.
- You will need to develop a well thought out personal emergency plan; involve everyone who lives in the house and make sure you all agree on the plan. Understand the nature and history of storms in your area, and stay alert for storm warnings.
- Make sure your emergency kit is up to date, check 'use by' dates on food and bottled water, replace if necessary. Check that you have adequate insurance cover for your home and contents.
During a storm
Storm warnings are advised via ABC radio, news, Internet and the Bureau of Meteorology. If a storm warning is issued for your area, you should:
- If installed, check your meter box sticker for advice in the event of a power outage.
- Listen to ABC and/or local radio for information and advice.
- Make contact with neighbours to ensure they are appropriately prepared.
- Bring children and pets indoors.
- Stay clear of windows.
- Move outdoor furniture to a safe location such as the garage.
- Put your family emergency kit where you can find it easily.
- Two cars trapped in flooded water
- While the storm is passing through, stay indoors if possible.
What about my car?
Park your car undercover and away from trees.
Keep an emergency kit in your car.
What if I am stuck in my car during a storm?
- Do not drive into water of unknown depth and current - this can be deadly.
- Slow down and turn headlights on.
- Be alert and watch for hazards on the road, such as powerlines.
If visibility becomes low:
- Ensure you slow down and put your headlights on.
- Put on your hazard lights and pull over to the side of the road in a clear safe area.
- Make sure you are clear of streams, trees and powerlines.
For more information about planning and preparaing for severe storm visit the SES StormSafe Website
When floods occur across Australia, they cause millions of dollars damage every year. Flooding is a natural occurrence that inevitably happens from time to time in our river systems, natural drainage and constructed drainage systems. Floods can severely disrupt communities, causing loss of life, personal hardship, property damage, and agricultural and stock losses.
Flash flooding can also occur in any area at any time as a result of short bursts of heavy rain fall that cannot drain away quickly.
The Victorian SES, in partnership with Council, the North East Catchment Management Authority, NSW SES and the Victorian Government, has released a Local Flood Guide - Upper Murray. This Guide contains flood information for the Upper Murray area from Corryong to Lake Hume. A copy is available to download from this page.
In the event of flooding from heavy rain and watercourses:
- Listen to ABC radio or your local radio station for warning and advice;
- Plan which indoor items you will raise or empty if water threatens your home;
- Prepare to move furniture, vehicles, outdoor equipment, garbage, chemicals and poisons to higher locations; and
- If necessary, turn off power, water and gas.
For assistance with flood damage to your house call the SES on 132 500. For flood information visit the SES website.
Victoria State Emergency Service (SES) is the control agency for flooding in Victoria, which means that they are responsible for planning for floods, and for managing flood response if they do occur.
Victoria has a long history of flooding, and is home to many flood-prone communities. Floods cost Victorians an average of $465 million every year, and can cause significant damage to homes, businesses and community infrastructure.
An estimated 150,000 homes and businesses in Victoria have a one per cent chance of flooding each year, and it is very important that all Victorians are prepared for the possibility of flooding
Flood Safe Resources
The SES has put together some important information and tools that can help you prepare and learn more about what you can do to prepare your home from floods. Find out more information on Floodsafe.
The VicEmergency website includes information and resources including toolkits, information for caravan owners and creating sandbags.
Looking After Pets
Responsible pet ownership requires a collaborative approach and a lifetime commitment. In the event of an emergency or disaster it is up to you to prepare for the safety and welfare of your pets. There are several things you can do to ensure you and your animals are prepared:
- Include your animals in your household emergency plans
- Keep vaccinations and worming up to date
- Ensure your emergency kit includes appropriate pet supplies, including medication and a copy of your pets most recent immunisation records, food (including treats), bottled water, a familiar pet blanket, bedding or toys and suitable cleaning supplies
- Ensure your pet is accustomed to being put into a carry cage or crate. You can use your own carry cage/crate so don’t forget to add it to your emergency plan. Leads/harnesses are also required for exercising your pet
- Properly identify your pets, e.g. Lifetime registration tags, name tags with current contact details and ensure your details are up to date with your microchip provider
- Keep a list of important phone numbers, such as veterinarian or Animal Management Centre handy.
We understand that your pet is part of the family. By acting early and seeking help from friends outside of the emergency area, the likelihood of you being reunited with your pet will be much greater:
- Know where you are going to take your animals well in advance of an emergency
- If moving animals to a safer place do so early to avoid unnecessary risk
- If staying at home secure animals indoors so that they do not take flight or run away
- Provide adequate food and water in large, heavy bowls
- Place pets in separate rooms with small or preferably no windows e.g. laundry or bathroom
- If left outside do not tie the animals up
- Do not leave pets in vehicles
For more information and advice about preparing your pet for an emergency, visit the RSPCA website Emergency Planning Page
Many farm animals are at risk during floods. It is important to plan what you will do with livestock if there is a risk of flooding.
What you can do now:
- Check whether local arrangements cater for relocation of livestock and plan where you will relocate your stock to, well before flooding begins. Working with neighbour farms can help you prepare this
- Fit gates on internal fences to avoid moving stock along public roads
- Mark gates and water locations on a map of your property. Have this map available in case someone has to move stock for you
What you can do before it floods:
- Coordinate relocation of domestic animals and livestock with neighbours, friends or livestock associations as early as possible
- If an emergency warning is current, or on days of high risk, consider moving stock into a safe area before leaving your property for any length of time
- Move animals to high ground with adequate natural feed. Additional feed may be required for stock stranded for extended periods
- In extreme circumstances, the best option may be to cut fences so that stock can escape danger (and be collected later).